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Everything You Need to Know to Decide Whether You Should Become a Medical Assistant

Choosing a career path is a decision that requires a lot of time, thought, and consideration. You may be considering a career in medical assisting, but you’re undecided. 

If you’re thinking of becoming a medical assistant, here are some facts that will help you decide:

  • Certification is desired
  •  Most educational programs last two years
  •  Medical assistants are in-demand
  •  Your job will make a difference in people’s lives

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to become a medical assistant, what your job responsibilities are, employment opportunities, and an estimated salary. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know for certain if a job in medical assisting is the right choice for you!

What Are the Job Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant?

The job responsibilities of a medical assistant are split into two categories, administrative and clinical. 

The Administrative Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

The administrative tasks assigned to you help the hospital or medical facility operate smoothly. Here are some of these responsibilities.

  • Bookkeeping and billing
  •  Responding to customer correspondence
  •  Scheduling and confirming appointments
  •  Completing insurance forms and coding
  •  Updating patient medical records and filing them
  •  Greeting patients when they enter the building
  •  Answering phone calls throughout the day
  •  Working on the computer to do the above tasks as needed

The Clinical Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

The clinical duties of your job as a medical assistant will require you to be up and active, as you’ll be visiting with patients and working closely with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

  • Changing patient dressings
  •  Treating wounds
  •  Administrating electrocardiograms
  •  Sending prescription refills to the pharmacy
  •  Administering injections
  •  Doing lab tests
  •  Prepping and collecting lab specimens
  •  Readying patients for an exam
  •  Reviewing patient medical history
  •  Answering patient questions before their appointment

What Educational Requirements Are Needed to Become a Medical Assistant? How to Start a Medical Assisting Career

Now that you have a better idea of what working as a medical assistant entails, what exactly does the road to becoming a medical assistant look like? What kind of educational background is required to start a medical assisting career?

Here’s what you need.

Proper Educational Background

A high school diploma or GED will not suffice if you want to pursue a career in medical assisting. You’ll need to select an accredited college or university and enroll in a medical assisting program to earn your certificate or associate degree.

During your time in the associate degree program, you’ll learn all the skills required to be an excellent medical assistant, such as all the relevant medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, and information on infection, diseases, and pathology.

You’ll become well-versed in medical coding and billing and working with electronic health records.

Your program will also teach you how to collect blood samples, how to take patient measurements and vitals, and how to do patient exams of all kinds. You’ll even learn how to sterilize medical equipment.

Medical Assisting Certification

As mentioned, you need a certification to work as a certified medical assistant. To earn the credential, you will need to take the National Healthcareer Association or NHA exam. 

You’re eligible for the exam if you’re enrolled in or recently graduated from an accredited medical assisting program.

Some online universities with medical assisting programs, like Bryan University, may even offer preparation and the opportunity to take the CMA exam once without having to pay for it, as it’s included in the cost of tuition. 

Where Do Medical Assistants Most Commonly Work?

With your medical assisting degree, your career can take you to a lot of exciting places. Here are the locations medical assistants are most often employed.

Surgery Centers

Surgery centers are medical facilities where patients go for surgical procedures. You’d assist patients and take their vitals ahead of and sometimes after the procedure. You’ll also keep up-to-date medical records about the patient’s history.

Urgent Care Clinics

When urgencies arise, patients head to an urgent care clinic. Working here will have a faster pace than some of the other facilities, but you’ll know that you’re working hard every day to assist with as many patients as you can.

Rehabilitation Facilities

When a patient is recovering from surgery, they’ll spend time at a medical rehabilitation facility to treat their injury. You can administer medications to help a patient with their pain while they stretch and work the affected area.

Public Health Agencies

A local health department or public health department provides community public health. You’d be doing a service to your local community by working in a public health agency as a medical assistant.

Mental Health Facilities

Medical assistants don’t solely have to treat a patient’s physical health but their mental health as well. You’d still keep valuable patient records, schedule appointments, and ready patients for their appointments.

Chiropractic Offices

You can also work in chiropractic offices. You’ll help check in patients, assist with procedures, assist with exams, and perform x-rays.

College Health Departments

Colleges and universities have robust health departments, and they’re always looking for professionals, such as medical assistants, to add to the team.

Physician Offices or Hospitals

Most commonly, medical assistants work in either a physician’s office or a hospital.

Your roles could include medical records specialist, medical office assistant, clinical medical assistant, or healthcare support worker.

What Is the Hourly Wage for a Medical Assistant?

Careers in medical assisting can be highly rewarding, but how much would you earn if this is your chosen career path?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a medical assistant will make $17.88 an hour and $37,190 a year.

This is a job role that’s growing steadily with time. The BLS estimates that between 2020 and 2030, 132,600 new medical assisting jobs will be added throughout the United States. That’s a growth rate of 18 percent, which is faster than average.

Considering Careers in Medical Assisting? Get Started Today

Does a career as a medical assistant sound like the right future for you? Bryan University has two medical assisting programs that will make that future as bright as possible.

The Clinical Medical Assistant Undergraduate Certificate program offers technical skills like those mentioned above that will make your dreams of becoming a medical assistant that much closer to becoming a reality.

In this program, you’ll be prepped for your CMA exam and qualified to take the exam once at no extra cost to you.

Bryan U also has an Associate Degree in Administrative Medical Assisting program to take your skills and knowledge a step further.

As a Bryan U medical assisting student, you can partake in a virtual externship offered by the NHA and our college.

This capstone allows you to use the skills you’ve learned in the program just the way a medical assistant would when they’re on the job.

You’ll also receive a Bryan University Medical Kit packed with a blood pressure cuff, venipuncture/phlebotomy kit, vein clips, tourniquets, a practice arm, wipes and gloves, stethoscope, IV kit, blood tubes, safety needles, and syringes.

The Medical Kit doesn’t cost you anything, as it’s rolled into the cost of your tuition! 

Still interested in pursuing a career in medical assisting? Look no further than Bryan University’s Associate Degree in Administrative Medical Assisting

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