Medical assistants and physician assistance may sound like they are the same thing, but they are actually different because of their responsibilities. Each one has their own focus and requirements needed in order to perform the job duties requested.
A medical assistant helps doctor offices run smoothly. They help with retaining the patients medical information, billing information, and insurance verification information. They will handle all of the billing that needs to be done through the insurance and to the direct patient. All the insurance claims will be handled by a medical assistance. They will also answer phone calls and schedule appointments for the patients to see the doctor. They will notate the exact reason for the appointment so that the doctor will know exactly what needs to be done or treated.
A doctor can ask that a medical assistant helps them get prepared for a treatment or surgery for the patient. They generally will only prepare the room, check the patients vital signs, or even assist during the procedure. They can assist by giving the doctors instruments they need in order to perform the treatment. A medical assistant can also schedule laboratory tests or services for the patients and put in prescription refills. In order to put in a prescription refill, the medical assistant will need to have the doctors approval first. A medical assistant will not get the same type of salary as a physician assistant. The pay is much lower. The average salary that is seen for medical assistants is around $29,000 per year.
In order to become a medical assistant, an individual will be required to go to training for around one to two years in order to receive a certification. Some places of employment will even allow an individual to train on the job for a lesser salary amount. College is not a requirement in order to become a medical assistant.
Physician assistants have a much bigger role when it comes to dealing with patients. They are able to treat or diagnose patients as long as they have the doctors approval. Unlike a medical assistant, physician assistants do not deal with scheduling appointments, ordering laboratory tests, handling insurance claims, or billing information. They focus all of their time dealing with patients and treating them. They may even take the time to educate the patient on the treatment they are receiving or about the matter they are diagnosed with.
Since physician assistants handle more with the patients and are able to diagnose them or treat them, their average yearly salary is much higher. It has been seen that the average made for a physician assistant is around $84,000 or more per year.
It is harder to become a physician assistant compared to a medical assistant. An individual is required to have a bachelor’s degree before they are able to join any training programs. The training programs take up to two years to complete when an individual goes full-time. There are options available for individuals based on the school they want to attend and the requirements needed in the area. Some may allow individuals to have either an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or even just a certificate. One can receive their license after they graduate from the training program. There are more education requirements needed in order to be a physician assistant, but the salary is almost three times more than the medical assistant.
Those wanting to work in the medical field can get started by becoming a medical assistant and work their way up to becoming a physician assistant. It’s a great way to work hands-on in the field while going to school or getting additional training.