Training to become a medical assistant has a lot of benefits. Apart from not spending a lifetime studying to become a medical assistant, there are a lot of job opportunities out there once you complete your training program. Unlike most medical professionals, medical assistants are not limited to one role. Additionally, according to the Department of Labor, medical assistant roles are among the fastest growing occupations in the healthcare industry. Based on the current projections, you don’t have to worry about unemployment as a medical assistant. Once you have completed your medical assistant training, you will be qualified to apply for the following positions:
Medical Office Assistant – As a medical office assistant, your job will involve doing clinical and administrative tasks at the physician’s office. It is usually the most common medical assistant position in the healthcare industry. Apart from the physician’s office, a medical office assistant can also work under the supervision of licensed chiropractors, podiatrists and health practitioners. Office medical assistants usually work full-time since most healthcare facilities operate 24 hours including the weekends. Hence, most medical office assistants are required to work in shifts.
Claims Examiner- The role of a claims examiner is to verify health insurance claims. Quite often in the healthcare industry, there is a lot of fraud that involves insurance claims. That is where a claims examiner comes in. Every medical insurance claim must pass through the claims examiner. If the medical care meets the required threshold, it is authorized for the appropriate cover. However, if there are suspicious details on the file, the claims examiner refers the case to an investigator.
Phlebotomy Technician- The main task of a phlebotomy technician is to collect and analyze blood samples under the supervision of a physician. Additionally, a phlebotomy technician can collect and process other medical specimens at independent labs, clinics or hospitals. A typical blood analysis will also involve checking out the medical history of the patients and taking vital signs. Since blood samples present the risk of contaminated diseases, a phlebotomy technician should always exercise utmost caution at work.
Insurance processer/adjuster- It is common to confuse an insurance company processor/adjuster for a claim examiner. Although both positions deal with insurance, the roles are different. An insurance processor confirms if a patient has accurately completed the necessary information on the form required to process insurance. Sometimes insurance coverage is a grey area (not clearly defined), hence an insurance processor/adjustor has to come in and decide whether a specific medical procedure is covered by an insurance policy. Hence, an insurance processor should be well-versed with technical medical lingo enough to explain to patients what it means in simple terms to avoid confusion. After the medical procedure has been completed, an insurance processor is expected to verify that it took place.
Ward/Unit Secretary- For those who wish to do administrative medical assistant roles, a ward secretary is perhaps the most fitting occupation. The role mainly involves booking patients’ appointments and entering their records into the system. When the patients arrive, a ward/unit secretary is expected to welcome and brief them on the expected procedure. If the patient is late or did not show up, the ward secretary can follow up through a phone call. Of course, for this position, a charming character will make the job easier. Additionally, a ward secretary is also responsible for managing the administrative tasks of the medical staff such as organizing the physician’s schedule on a diary.
EKG Technician- The job of an EKG technician is to operate an electrocardiogram machine. Basically, EKG machines are used to monitor the heart of a patient. For the machine to be effective, wires and electrodes are attached to a person’s chest, legs and arms. Once the machine is connected, the EKG technician is supposed to monitor and record the results of the electrocardiogram machine. A good communication skill is an added advantage considering EKG technicians often ask patients questions while recording their medical history. Since EKG technicians play a critical role, an attention to detail is an essential skill necessary for the job. The lifting of heavy objects during working hours is expected too while setting up the heart monitoring machinery. If you’re hired, most employers will offer short-term training before getting absorbed into a full-time position.
Surgical technician – Occasionally, certified medical assistants can get enrolled for a surgical tech job. A surgical technician is responsible for sterilizing surgical equipment and handing them out to the operating physician. Although there are medical assistants who assist doctors to handle equipment during minor surgeries, a surgical technician is more limited and focused on the role. Due to the high hygiene standards observed in operating rooms, surgical technicians are required to wear surgical gowns, gloves and masks whenever there is a surgical operation taking place.