The United States is currently facing a massive shortage of registered nurses. Nurses around the country are overloaded with work and the healthcare industry has always looked towards medical assistants to help with basic tasks around the office. Medical assistants normally perform a number of clerical tasks that relate to record keeping, and may even assist doctors with patients.
How Long Does It Take to Be a Medical Assistant?
There is no real formal national certification for medical assistants, however, a number of schools across the country offer medical assisting courses. The American Association of Medical Assistants is a well-known organization that the majority of medical assistants choose to receive certifications through. Job candidates with certification through this organization often have a better chance at getting a job than other, less qualified candidates.
Individuals who want to pursue careers as medical assistants normally have to spend nine to twelve months in school to obtain a certificate. Those who want to get an associate’s degree will likely spend two years in school.
Besides a Degree, What Else is Needed to Become a Medical Assistant?
After completing the required courses to get a medical assisting certificate, job candidates will likely need to get a CPR certificate and some minor clerical certifications. Certain states also require candidates to get certifications if they will be administering tests or drawing blood from patients.
While many potential employers may offer to pay for such certifications, be prepared to get them before you apply. The more certifications you have, the better chance you have at getting a job.
What are the Main Job Duties of a Medical Assistant?
The job duties vary from office to office, but normally include a mix of clerical and medical duties.
Medical assistants check in patients, record payments, assist doctors, answer phones and more. The doctor may also assign additional job duties if a particular employee has specific certifications.
Some medical assistants also handle prescription refills and schedule appointments for new patients.
What Type of Person Can Become a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistant candidates often come from a variety of backgrounds. In order to be a medical assistant, an individual needs to excel at multitasking and must stay focused at all times. Because the field of medical assisting often changes and employers often require their assistants to learn new procedures, medical assistants must also be very quick learners.