Career opportunity as a medical assistant has turned out to be one of the most fast-growing one in the healthcare arena. Latest report from Bureau of Labor Statistics substantiates this fact. This profession is an allied profession in healthcare arena. These professionals are honored in this field owing to their contribution. When you visit a hospital, clinic or a physician office, the first face that you will meet is that of a medical assistant. It is expected that the surge in demand of medical assistant will continue to grow till 2016. If you are passionate about people and want to play the role of caregiver, then this profession can be a good option.
Required Education Qualification
Medical assistants work in close coordination of doctors and nurses. In few environments, the assistants work under a medical director. You can be a part of this bandwagon with appropriate education and training. It is important for students to have a high school diploma and equivalent with subjects like anatomy, chemistry, and biology. However, as per the recent trend, employers prefer graduates and candidates with formal training for this job. Vocational schools, community colleges, technical schools and junior colleges scattered across the country cater accredited programs in medical assisting. Few employees also provide on-the-job training to students.
Choose The Right Program
Across different locations in United States, different colleges and universities cater training programs in medical assisting. Choosing an appropriate school and training program is important. While researching for the best schools, you have to consider few important points. First, ensure that the program offered is a certified, diploma or an associated degree. You need to make sure that training program is accredited as without so, you cannot appear for the national certification program conducted by American Association of Medical Assistant(AAMA). Also, consider the fees of the training program and enquire whether it accepts credit earned in any other educational institute. Another important factor is the placements facility offered by the college. Enquire the percentage of graduates already who have been employed in various institutes.
Opt for Accredited Training Program
As per American Association of Medical Assistant, aspirants need to pursue a two years associate degree from accredited schools. In USA, Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredits associate programs. Both didactic and practical training are included in this course. You will be trained in anatomy, medical terminologies, billing procedures and mathematics skills. Associate degree allows graduates to opt for specialized duties like giving injection and taking x-rays. They are trained for undertaking administrative work. However, in few states you do not require any formal training for pursuing this career.
Noted Institutes and Training Programs
Both regular and online schools cater accredited medical assistant associate training programs. Many institutes also have a provision for students to opt for externship to get an insight of different procedures involved in this process. You can spot schools catering accredited associate degree in different parts of the country. Few best training programs are catered by
- Virginia College
- Berkley College
- Southern Technical College
- Kaplan University Online
If you have the time constraint, online schools will be a good option for you. Resources are catered through webinars, presentations and audio-visual aids for online classes.
Procedure of Certification
Owing to the demand of this profession, there has been also shift in the job scenario. Today, certification of medical assistant is necessary. Employers are on the lookout for candidates who have certification from the nodal and accredited body. American Association of Medical Assistants certifies these professionals only after completion of the associate degree. For certification, you need to be eighteen years of age. There are strict regulations of the government regarding the certification process. Medical assistants are certified after qualifying an examination conducted by state agencies and receive certification through Clinical Laboratory Improvements Act and Occupational Safety and Health Act. Certification examination is conducted three times a year. Certified Medical Assistants have to renew their certification in every five years.
Importance of Training
These professionals are a backbone of healthcare sector. Certification proves the proficiency of professionals in this arena of work. However, training is an important for these professionals. Few employers ensure that professionals receive on-the-job training to improve their dexterity. Based on the facility you are employed, training can last for several months. Medical assistants learn to interact with patients procedures of running the office, taking medical reading of patients and coding health records of patients. It is important for these professionals, to complete their responsibilities with confidence. With appropriate certification and training, you can create a niche for you in this arena and thrive.
Necessary skills to thrive
In the physician’s office and other healthcare settings, medical assistants create an everlasting impression on patients. Knowledge imparted through training programs and certification provides then the dexterity to deal with different patients with ease. They need to make patients feel at ease. An important attribute of this profession is that you need to can work independently. Few important skills that provide them an edge in the work are
- Analytical skill- Medical assistant have to understand the diagnosis and various medical charts as these are required for billing purposes.
- Technical skill- it is important for them to deal with different sophisticated clinical instruments in healthcare settings.
- Communication skill- Interpersonal skill of these professions is integral to their success. They have to interact with patients, families, insurance companies and physicians.
- Keen eye for details- This attribute also determines the smooth functioning of the healthcare settings. Be it recording vital signs and corresponding with insurance companies, they have to maintain the accuracy all through.
- Trustworthy- As they have to deal with medical information of patients, it is important for them to be reliable.
General Role Of Medical Assistant
Different opportunities in various healthcare facilities will give you the provision to grow professionals and personally. Each day in these setting for medical assistant are full of challenges. Training, certification and experience help these professionals to overcome various hiccups they face. Irrespective of the place of employment, you have to undertake both clinical and administrative tasks. You can get employment in various healthcare institutes as
- Nursing homes
- Physician’s office
- Office of optometrists, chiropractors, and podiatrists
An Insight To Daily Responsibilities
It is a full-time profession, and you need to work round the clock. You need to be prepared for emergency services. There is also provision for working in shifts depending on the nature of the healthcare setting. Doctors and registered nurses often guide these professionals. Responsibilities might vary based on the place of employment. Duties of medical assistant vary based on whether you are employed in the hospital, clinics, private practices or ambulatory services. Specific duties in these settings are
- Hospital- Medical assistants have to undertake both laboratory-based and patient-based responsibilities. You also have to undertake various administrative works related to immunization and medication. Different tasks involve direct communication with patients.
- Clinic- In this setting, you have to undertake comprehensive responsibilities and fill different gaps. Often they are referred as generalists in small institutes as they have to greet patients, help the doctor and help in medical proceedings.
- Private practice- Of late, these settings seem to hire the majority of medical assistants, as they have to deal with various forms of complexities. Responsibilities are personalized based on the need for the practice. Multi-dimensional ability of these professionals is expressed through different responsibilities they undertake. Dexterity of Medical assistants helps doctors to treat more patients.
- Ambulatory care- Working in this setting is different from that of three above-mentioned settings. Intensity of action in ambulatory care services makes this setting different from others. Basic responsibility of these professionals remains same, but they have to depend on more ton their training, instincts, and experience. Medical assistants ensure that the ambulances are equipped with different equipment and medical care facilities.
Categorization of Duties
Healthcare institutes rely on services and dexterity of medical assistants to a great deal. They have to undertake a host of responsibilities in different settings depending on the size of settings, location, and type. Based on the need of employers these professionals have to undertake different responsibilities. Duties of these professionals are segregated in three parts
- Clinical duties
- Administrative duties
- Clerical duties
However, in small setting the professionals have to perform both clinical and administrative tasks. Since few medical assistants are recruited in this arena, they have to undertake various tasks. In contrast, for large practices, the medical assistants have to perform specialized duties. Those who have specialization in a particular field of medicine and can assist doctors. These medical assistant also have specialized responsibilities in different settings. Few areas of specialization are family medicine, immunology, oncology, cardiology, pediatrics, geriatrics, ophthalmology, medical billing and gastroenterology.
Overview of Clinical Duties
First idea that you will have in uttering the name medical assistant describes the clinical duties of these professionals. These duties might differ based on the state you are employed. Usually, duties of these professionals are medical in nature. A glimpse of clinical duties of medical assistant
- Preparing patients for various pathological examination
- Recording medical history
- Assisting physicians during medical procedures
- Explaining various processes to patients
- Sterilize equipment prior and after the medical tests
- Collect pathological specimens
In few areas of work, medical assistants also have to draw blood, remove sutures and take x-rays and echocardiograms.
Details of Administrative Duties
Administrative responsibilities of these professionals ensure providing support to medical setting for smooth functioning. Majority of these duties do not have direct contact with medical procedures. Various responsibilities include
- Submissions of claim forms
- Maintaining medical records of patients
- Scheduling appointment and pathological tests
- Updating files of patients
- Accurate bookkeeping and patient billing
- Organizing admission to hospitals
For few healthcare institutes, administrative responsibilities also include clerical duties.
Framework of Clerical Responsibilities
For smooth functioning of healthcare settings, medical assistants have to undertake various clerical duties. Majority of these duties do not have any direct connection with medical proceedings. Clerical duties are similar to that of any office. These activities support different operations in hospitals or office of physicians, chiropractors and podiatrists and are related to the business aspect of the healthcare setting.
- Greeting patients and communicating with them
- Taking calls
- Scheduling appointments
- Typing memos and letters for doctors
- Sorting emails and communicating with insurance companies
It is imperative that responsibilities of these professionals are not uniform across different states. Well, few states also have a restriction regarding their duties.
Growth in Career Opportunity
Career in healthcare arena is one of the fastest growing opportunities. The job market is a rewarding one, and this is the perfect time for pursuing this career. It is expected that the demand for these professionals will continue, as there is the rise in demand of preventive medicine. Expansion in the number of clinics, hospitals, and other facilities has led to the increase in number of caregivers and support workers. There has also been a change in the nature of job responsibilities of these professionals owing to the fact that more patients are opting for treatment facilities. As per BLS, there will be a rise of almost twenty nine percent in job opportunities within 2012 and 2022. This rate is faster than the overall growth in employment.
Get Lucrative Salary
Data also suggests that there will be almost 560,800 certified medical assistants in the country within 2012 to 2022. Texas, California, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida hire highest number of these professionals. According to Federal statistics, the average pay of medical assistants was US $ 29, 370 per annum in 2012. Alaska, Connecticut, Washington and Massachusetts are the top cities that pay the highest to these professionals. Well, in Champaign-Urbana these professionals can earn up to $48,920 per year.