If a career in the medical field appeals to you but you aren't sure what you want to focus on, you might want to consider starting out as a medical assistant. Read on to learn what the role of a medical assistant entails.
Often the first point of contact with the public, the roles and responsibilities of a medical assistant differ based on work settings, like working at a clinic or a large hospital in comparison to working in ambulatory care. The ultimate objective of a medical assistant is to maintain patient care under a supervising physician, usually with a unique blend of clinical and administrative responsibilities.
Clinical responsibilities include:
Administrative duties include:
Job Prospects and Career Progression Opportunities
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant jobs are in demand throughout the healthcare industry and are only expected to grow. The growth rate for jobs between 2016-2026 is 29 percent, faster than average job growth. There are various reasons for the increasing demand for medical assistants and nurses. The first reason is that many hospitals and medical care facilities stay open for longer hours than before, including holidays and weekends, and require more medical assistants as a result. In addition, the increase in population and growing medical concerns call for a preventive approach to health care. As the baby boomer generation ages, there are also more senior citizens in need of medical assistance, resulting in a greater need for medical care.
What you learn during a medical assistant program and in your job as a medical assistant will help prepare you for various career paths. It will give you the foundation you need to pursue a career such as those listed below:
You might even decide to take an additional step in your career by going back to school and earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other medical certificates. Taking the medical assistant career path might be a great option if you are considering continuing your education in the future!
Most medical assistants enjoy a fairly steady work schedule, often working a typical 40-hour week, unlike some medical professionals who work 60 to 80 hour weeks. This allows for more personal time while still having job stability. As a medical assistant, you also have the option of working part-time at facilities that have part-time positions.
When your career is in demand across the health industry, this could allow you to work in various environments like at a doctor’s office, hospital, outpatient clinic, or other healthcare facilities.
In a medical assistant program, unlike most other medical professions, you won't be required to go to school for an extended period of time and potentially build up more debt in student loans. While formal education is not a prerequisite, medical assistants who have completed a certification or associate’s degree program have an upper hand at getting better opportunities and may be paid higher than those without prior training.
Medical assistant programs can generally be completed in just one or two years, meaning you can be employed within a relatively short period of time. Many programs also include an internship that will help you learn the ropes, giving you more confidence as you start your career.
Most aspiring medical assistants choose to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam which, is accredited by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This qualification though not required by all employers, can increase your value as a medical assistant.
Now that you understand the benefits of a medical assistant career; and the opportunities that await you once you complete your education program and earn your certification, it’s time to begin exploring accredited programs that can help you achieve it. The only thing standing between you and this fulfilling and meaningful career is joining a medical assistant training program. Contact our Admissions Department for more information.
ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.
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