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5 Things You May Not Know About Medical Assistants

Posted by Angie DiSalvo Thursday, Jun. 1, 2017

A medical assistant smiling at the camera in a coat and stethoscope

Medical assistants are a key part of many healthcare settings, and the demand for them has never been greater. But most people aren’t even sure what this career entails. Here are five things you may not know about medical assistants:

1. Versatile Role of a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are some of the most versatile healthcare workers, because they are cross-trained in both administrative and clinical duties.

  • Administrative support duties may include:
    • Greeting and checking-in patients
    • Answering phones and scheduling appointments
    • Coding and filling out insurance forms
    • Updating and filing medical records
    • Managing correspondence, billing and bookkeeping

  • Clinical duties may include:
    • Taking patient medical histories
    • Preparing specimens and exam rooms
    • Drawing blood and taking vital signs
    • Giving injections and performing diagnostic tests, such as EKGs
    • Collecting samples and conducting basic lab tests
    • Removing sutures and changing dressings
    • Purchasing and maintaining supplies

Because medical assistants can work in the front office or back office, they can make a huge difference in the lives of patients.

2. Where You Can Work as a Medical Assistant

Along with their variety of duties, medical assistants also are able to work in a number of different healthcare settings. This flexibility allows medical assistants to pick and choose a workplace that they are the most interested in, such as:

  • Family practice doctor offices
  • Eye care centers
  • Specialist facilities (dermatologists, podiatrists, etc.)
  • Chiropractor offices
  • American Red Cross and other blood banks

Most MAs also work a regular schedule. Not having to work nights, weekends and holidays can be especially helpful for working parents.

3. High Demand for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants are in huge demand throughout the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Their wide-range of skills and ability to work in many settings allows for high job-placement. In addition, medical assistants also earn a steady wage. The BLS reported that the median annual wage for medical assistants was $31,540 in May 2016.

4. Medical Assistants Are Eligible for Financial Aid

Just like students who are in two- or four-year degree programs, medical assistant students are eligible for financial aid. All that is required is to fill out a FAFSA.

There also may be additional resources available after graduation, such as tuition reimbursement. Because medical assistants are in such high demand, many employers are offering to help pay student loans while you work for them.

5. One-Year Commitment to Become a Certified Medical Assistant

Most medical assistant programs, are just 12 months and usually only require a high school diploma or GED to enroll.

At the end of the NMC program, you sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants exam for professional certification, which makes you even more marketable and in a position for higher pay.

With such versatility, high demand and steady wage, think of how you can change your life and your family’s life in only one year by becoming a certified medical assistant.

Topics: health professions, medical assistant

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