You may not know it but nearly every time you visit the doctor’s office you are dealing with a medical assistant. During a routine visit the medical assistant is typically the first professional you speak with. Working as a medical assistant requires plenty of administrative work, but it is not limited to staying in an office. Many medical assistants draw blood and confirm the patient’s medical history. This versatile medical career offers is not difficult to pursue.
Personal Traits and Skills
Any candidate working toward becoming a medical assistant must be an excellent multi-tasker, able to complete a variety of medical-related jobs at once. Candidates are required to be resourceful and quick to take action. The desire to help people and the ability to stomach uncomfortable medical situations are all necessary as well. Finally, all potential MAs must present themselves clearly and offer strong communication with other medical professionals and patients. If you posses each of these traits, you are ready to move forward with your career choice.
While there are no legal educational requirements to become a medical assistant; however, additional education beyond high school is preferred by employers. Two types of medical assistant programs are available to candidates. Those who opt for certification often undergo a training course, but others choose to pursue an associate’s degree instead. The required courses include medical terminology, science, first aid, medical billing and math.
This is also the time to choose a specialty for your work. While you can make a career out of your general studies, you can also opt to study in a specific field. Administrative medical assistants work on insurance forms and coding whereas clinical assistants focus on laboratory tests, sterilizing equipment and preparing patients for procedures. Medical assistants can also study to work in optometric and podiatric centers, helping their respective doctors provide care. Optometric medical assistants generally teach patients how to insert and care for contact lenses. Podiatric medical assistants develop x-rays and make castings of feet.
While it is possible to work as a medical assistant without certification, most choose to become certified medical assistants, CMAs. A certain level of prestige comes with working as a certified assistant instead. Medical assistants must renew their certification every five years to demonstrate ongoing proficiency in the industry.
The course required to become certified takes place three times each year, as does the examination. The American Association of Medical Assistants administers the exam in January, June and October for nearly $200. The examinations are completed online now.
Most offices and hospitals will ask that you undergo on-the-job training before working, no matter how educated you are. Some schools also offer training programs that may lead to a career in the future.
Demand has been increasing in the medical field for assistant careers. Embarking on this new work venture means reaching toward a career that is often accompanied an annual salary of $30-40,000. Medical assistants typically work a 40-hour week from Monday to Friday. Now is definitely the time to join the healthcare industry as a medical assistant.