If you have been thinking about a career in healthcare, you may have considered becoming a medical assistant. At most schools, a medical assisting program can be earned very quickly. Diploma programs in medical assisting can normally be completed in 16 to 18 months or less, although associate degree programs are usually longer. A short-term program can be a quick way to enter the field—one that is filled with opportunity.
But many people are not quite sure what a medical assistant does. Did you know that the role encompasses a variety of rewarding duties, using skills that fall into administrative, technical and clinical categories? As important members of the healthcare community, medical assistants help offices and clinics run smoothly. As the demand for healthcare continues increasing, physicians are relying more and more on medical assistants to help with various patient care needs. For example, MAs will often record a patient’s medical and personal history, measure their vital signs, such as pulse and blood pressure. In some states, MAs can administer injections or medications under a physician’s direction.
Administrative duties for medical assistants include scheduling patient appointments, completing insurance forms and updating medical records. And, as more physicians are adopting electronic health records (EHR), medical assistants will often be expected to learn and use that software. In fact, medical assistants that are EHR certified may earn a higher hourly wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
It is important, however, not to confuse medical assistants with physician assistants, who examine and diagnose patients, treating them with a physician’s supervision.
Most medical assistants work in a physician’s office, although there are also opportunities at hospitals and inpatient and outpatient facilities, as well as with other health practitioners’ such as chiropractors and optometrists. In large practices or hospitals, medical assistants may have the opportunity to specialize in either administrative or clinical work.
Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow much faster than average for all occupations over the next 10 years, according to the BLS, As such, BLS rates the job prospects for medical assistants to be good.
If the medical field interests you and you enjoy meeting new people and helping make a difference in their lives, you may find a career as a medical assistant a rewarding one. Fortis offers medical assistant programs that will put you on the path. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.