Those interested in becoming a medical assistant can find programs offered at vocational schools, colleges and universities. Most medical assistant programs require one to two years to complete the program for earning a diploma or a certificate. Schools should be accredited in either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Medical assistants play an important role in keeping a doctor’s office running efficiently. Depending on the type of physician the medical assistant is employed by, duties vary although basic duties normally include:
Updating patient records
Completing insurance forms
Arranging for lab work and hospital admissions
Preparing patients for exams
Most colleges or post secondary schools require students to complete medical training as well as office training. Required courses include:
Medical Assistant Certification
Medical assistants are not required to obtain a state license to work, although some states may require licenses to perform specific procedures. Certification is also not required however is important, especially for those who are applying for entry-level job positions. This shows the employer that the person is competent in this particular field. The American Association of Medical Assistants offers certification.
Due to the number of aging individuals in the population and new advances in technology, this profession is one of the fastest growing occupations. This trend is expected to continue with many job opportunities for medical assistants in doctor’s offices and private clinics. Having both medical and clerical skills from formal training with certification will offer more employment opportunities. Other employment opportunities include working in hospitals, outpatient facilities and residential care facilities.
Medical assistants work in clean, well-lit environments. They are constantly interacting with other people and often must deal with many responsibilities at one time. Full time medical assistants normally work 40 hours a week although there are some positions offered part time that might include evenings or weekends.
Average Earnings for Medical Assistants
Depending on experience and location, most medical assistants earn an average of $19,460 to $27,460 a year. Obtaining employment in a physician’s office or a clinic normally offers highest pay.
Medical assistants do have the opportunity to advance their career with additional training and/or experience. Advancements include office management, healthcare positions, nursing or medical technology.