Jobs for medical assistants are on a rapid rise. So much so, that this is becoming one of the most in-demand job titles throughout the medical field. Of course, this is not the only benefit associated with this fulfilling job. Let’s take a look at what a medical assistant does, why this job is so fulfilling and how you can start to pave a career in this field!
So, What Exactly Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical assistants are entry-level employees in the medical field. They are tasked with providing support services to other medical professionals across the healthcare industry. Some of their tasks may include administrative activities such as scheduling appointments and processing patients’ payments. Other tasks may be of a more clerical nature, such as taking blood test samples. A medical assistant could be required to undertake any combination of administrative and clerical tasks depending on the requirements of their position.
You may still be wondering why one would consider becoming a medical assistant rather than a doctor or nurse. Well, here are some of the unique benefits that medical assistants can enjoy:
- Quick Training: unlike doctors and nurses, medical assistants do not need to attend a university program that takes between two and four years. Rather, they can earn the required credentials in less than a year.
- Recognition in all states: while doctors need to be licensed in each state they work in, medical assistants are certified to work in any state, without needing to become re-certified.
- Diversity in work environments: medical assistants are not restricted to only working in hospitals. They can also find employment in nursing homes, in patients’ homes, and in private doctors’ and chiropractors’ offices.
- Job security: it’s no secret that medical assistants are in high demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 29 percent job growth between now and 2026 — that’s far more than the seven percent average across all jobs!
How You Can Become a Medical Assistant
The first step to becoming a medical assistant is to complete an accredited training program. Because a vast majority of employers expect their medical assistants to be certified, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, finding and completing an accredited training program is far simpler than you might think.
Medical assistant training programs can either be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). No matter which program proves to be best suited for you, you can easily study for your qualification through one on many Medical Assistant Programs Online. This will eliminate hassles such as traveling and excessive housing and tuition costs.
If you happen to be interested in moving onto a more advanced role in the future, you may want to consider studying one of several Online Health Degrees. This could provide you with more employment options than were previously available. For example, if you enjoy performing administrative tasks and are working towards advancing your career in this field, you may want to consider studying an Online Healthcare Administration Degree.
In addition to studying, you will also need to complete clinical training. This typically takes place during your study process and could potentially be organized for you by your accredited training program. While an internship or externship may not be required by your chosen program, it is still advisable to get some experience before beginning your professional career.
Once you have completed your training, you will have one final step to complete before entering the workplace. This would be completing your medical assistant certification exam. The most common certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), which is provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Other certifications include the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), both offered by The National Healthcare Association.
Your Earning Potential
Despite relatively low educational and vocational training requirements, medical assistants earn competitive salaries across the board. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics assessed the salaries earned by medical assistants across the United States. The median salary was $32,480 per annum ($15.61 per hour), the lowest 10 percent of workers earned $23,830 per annum ($11.46 per hour) and the highest 10 percent of workers took home a respectable $45,900 per annum ($22.07 per hour).
Salaries in this field can be affected by years of experience as well as your work environment. Here are just some examples of variation in salaries:
- Outpatient facilities: $33,820 per annum ($16.26 per hour)
- Hospitals: $33,590 per annum ($16.15 per hour)
- Doctor’s offices: $32,710 per annum ($15.76 per hour)
The Future Of This Profession
Due to the rapid growth in demand for this profession, more than 183,900 new medical assistant jobs are expected to be created between now and 2026. There are also new types of positions being created as the profession benefits from technological advancements. Some examples include:
- Specialized Medical Assistant
- EKG Technician
- Hospital Unit or Ward Clerk
- Phlebotomy Technician
- Podiatric Medical Assistant
Start Your Journey to Becoming a Medical Assistant Today!
With competitive pay and job security, becoming a medical assistant is both a fulfilling and promising job choice. What’s more, is that there are few challenging educational and training requirements to prevent you from entering this field.
The United States has plenty of great study opportunities for people looking to become medical assistants — these include Medical Assistant Programs Online. Take a look online at the many study options available and begin your journey today!