How to Become a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants work in the healthcare field and help doctors mainly at outpatient clinics or ambulatory care facilities such as medical offices. A medical assistant is often the person who shows you to the exam room, checks your height and weight, or takes your vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. Some medical assistants will even inquire about your symptoms and reason for visiting to pass this on to the doctor to streamline and speed up the consultation process.
Although medical assistants work directly with physicians, they are not allowed to offer medical advice or administer any treatments. Instead, they assist by collecting information and preparing the doctors for their consultations with patients. It is a sought-after position that offers plenty of career opportunities and growth. If you’re wondering how to become a medical assistant, this article will guide you through the process.
An In-demand & Growing Field
Medical assisting is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is growing much faster on average than almost all other occupations. This is attributed to the predicted surge in medical clinics and outpatient facilities, technological advancements in medicine, and an increasingly aging population needing medical treatment. As a result, employment opportunities for medical assistants are predicted to increase by 19% between 2019 and 2029. So, if you’ve been searching for an exciting career opportunity, it may be time to learn how to become a medical assistant.
Requirements to Be a Medical Assistant
If this sounds like a good prospect, you’re likely wondering how you become a medical assistant. Well, the good news is, no formal schooling or university degrees are necessary if you want to become a medical assistant. However, there are some requirements to be a medical assistant, and you will need to undergo training in the field. Medical assisting training programs offer students the opportunity to get fundamental experience and prepare to get certified, all of which can be completed online. Most medical assistant courses take about a year to complete. Once you’ve passed a training program, you’ll be able to take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) national exam before starting to work in the field.
Medical assisting training programs are usually divided into three different segments:
- Administrative – how to conduct day-to-day activities in a medical office such as patient communication, filing medical charts, and complete insurance forms.
- Clinical – how to check vital signs, update medical histories, verify prescriptions, and what happens in the exam room.
- Externship – On-site, hands-on training where medical assistants put into practice what they have learned at approved health care facilities.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical assistants have a wide variety of duties, and your exact tasks will differ depending on where you work. But in general, most of your tasks will be either administrative or clinical. Since you are cross trained to perform numerous tasks, working as a medical assistant can be quite an interesting job. Not only do you get to interact with patients, but you also get to perform basic medical procedures.
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to be doing in this position (depending on where you work):
- Answering phones and scheduling appointments
- Greeting patients
- Filing, updating, and reviewing medical records
- Completing insurance forms
- Scheduling hospital visits or laboratory tests
- Billing, bookkeeping, and general office administration
- Showing patients to the exam room
- Preparing patients for their consultation with the doctor
- Updating medical histories
- Recording symptoms
- Collecting laboratory samples and performing basic lab tests
- Assisting doctors during exams
- Verifying patient prescriptions and handling refill requests
- Drawing blood
- Checking vital signs such as heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure
- Removing stitches or changing wound dressings
These are just some of the many duties and tasks you’ll be expected to do as a medical assistant.
Take the Steps to Become a Medical Assistant Today
There are numerous benefits to becoming a medical assistant, from job stability to flexible hours, and more. Since it is a growing and in-demand profession in a constant industry, you can expect plenty of job prospects. This occupation doesn’t require you to have any specialized degrees or academic background, which means it is a career that can easily be obtained after completing an online program.
A medical assistant’s varied administrative and clinical duties mean that you’re likely to find your work fulfilling and satisfying. So, if you’ve been looking for a new career in healthcare, become a certified medical assistant and stand out to future employers by enrolling in our Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) course today!
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