Medical Assistants fulfill a critical role in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health-care facilities. Their responsibilities include administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, recording patients’ personal information, and submitting insurance forms. They may perform clinical duties such as measuring vital signs, helping physicians with patient exams, and preparing samples for laboratory tests. Considering the many responsibilities they carry, Medical Assistants need to have excellent communication and computer skills and keen attention to detail.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Answer phones
- Schedule appointments
- Record patients’ medical history and personal information
- Process bills and insurance forms
- Measure vital signs, such as pulse and blood pressure
- Help doctors with patient exams
- Prepare blood and urine samples for laboratory tests
- Give patients medication or injections, if permitted
Education and Background
Medical Assistants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Post-secondary education, such as vocational training or an associate degree, is preferred. Several types of certifications are available, although many employers do not require them. In some states, Medical Assistants must graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam.
Skills and Competencies
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)
- Experience with electronic health records (EHRs)
- Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, doctors, and staff
- Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
- Ability to multitask and prioritize workload
- Calm, professional demeanor
- Keen attention to detail
According to Payscale, the median annual salary of a Medical Assistant with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $29,000
- Tampa, Florida: $32,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $32,000
- Miami, Florida: $30,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $31,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $36,000
- Houston, Texas: $32,000
- Los Angeles, California: $35,000
- New York City, New York: $37,000
- Seattle, Washington: $40,000
- Overall: $34,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $31,000
- Tampa, Florida: $33,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $33,000
- Miami, Florida: $35,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $33,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $40,000
- Houston, Texas: $34,000
- Los Angeles, California: $40,000
- New York City, New York: $40,000
- Seattle, Washington: $45,000
- Overall: $37,000
Similar Job Titles
- Dental Assistant
- Nursing Assistant
- Pharmacy Technician
- Medical Records Technician
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Physical Therapy Assistant
The first step to becoming a Medical Assistant is to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. Courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy would be helpful. Employers prefer candidates with some post-secondary education, such as vocational training or an associate degree. Most states do not require Medical Assistants to be certified, but several types of certifications are available, including Certified Medical Assistant and Registered Medical Assistant.
Some Medical Assistants decide to specialize in either administrative or clinical work, especially those employed by large hospitals or clinics. Others specialize according to the type of medical office where they work – for example, optometry or podiatry.
According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, the growing number of older Americans who need medical care and advancements in technology means that Medical Assistants are in high demand.
Experience working with electronic health records (EHRs) will become increasingly important as employers move away from paperwork.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Medical Assistants is expected to grow by 23 percent over the next several years, which is much faster than average. The aging baby-boom population will increase demand for medical services. Medical Assistants who earn certification will improve their career prospects.
Medical Assistants work a variety of schedules because some health-care facilities are open early in the morning, late at night, or 24 hours a day. As a result, Medical Assistants might work evenings, weekends, or holidays to cover the different shifts.
Where You Can Find Jobs
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