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What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
A medical assistant is a multi-skilled professional who supports the work of physicians and other health professionals. Their duties vary depending on the size and type of medical facility where they work, but may include taking medical histories, recording vital signs, performing routine laboratory tests, scheduling appointments, handling billing and coding information, and assisting patients with minor needs such as crutches or wheelchairs. Some Medical assistants specialize in areas such as optometry or podiatry.
Duties of a Medical Assistant
A medical assistant is a vital member of the healthcare team. They perform administrative and clinical tasks in the office of a physician, podiatrist, or other health practitioner.
Common duties of a medical assistant include scheduling appointments, taking and recording patient medical histories and vital statistics, assisting with examinations and treatments, preparing lab specimens for testing, and handling minor office surgeries. They also may give patients instructions on taking medications or wound care. Some states allow medical assistants to perform more advanced tasks, such as administering injections or taking X-rays.
Medical Assistant Job Description
The medical assistant job description is quite versatile, as these professionals perform many different tasks in a medical office or clinic setting. Most medical assistants have general clerical duties, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and updating patient files. They may also be responsible for handling insurance forms and processing bills. Many medical assistants also perform basic clinical tasks, such as taking patient vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, and giving injections. Some medical assistants may also be responsible for ordering lab tests and X-rays, and performing electrocardiograms.
Medical Assistant Salary
The average salary for a Medical Assistant is $14.72 per hour in Uniontown, PA. Salary estimates are based on 439 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Medical Assistant employees, users, and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. The typical tenure for a Medical Assistant is 1-3 years.
Medical Assistant Training
Medical assistant training programs are widely available at many colleges, technical schools and even some high schools. A medical assistant program typically takes about one year to complete, although some programs may be longer or shorter. Many programs lead to a certificate or diploma, but some may offer an associate degree.
Uniontown Hospital offers a medical assistant training program that leads to a certificate. The program is nine months long and includes both classroom and clinical instruction. Uniontown Hospital’s medical assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Cypress College’s medical assistant program leads to an Associate in Science degree. The program is 72 weeks long and includes both classroom and clinical instruction. Cypress College’s medical assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
How to Become a Medical Assistant
There are several ways to become a medical assistant. The most common is to attend a postsecondary medical assisting program, although some students enter the occupation after completing high school or receiving on-the-job training.
Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate, although some have an associate degree in medical assisting. Employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal education program. Coursework in a typical medical assisting program includes instruction in Medical Terminology transcription, recordkeeping, insurance processing, coding and billing procedures, accounting, and keyboarding.
Some programs also include an externship, which allows students to apply their skills in a real-world setting. Many states require medical assistants to be certified or registered, although certification is not required in all states. In states that do not require certification, employers may prefer candidates who are certified. There are several credentialing options for medical assistants.
The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential. To earn the CMA credential, candidates must complete an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program and pass a written exam administered by the Certifying Board of the AAMA. The National Healthcare Association offers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential.
To earn the RMA credential, candidates must pass a written exam administered by the National Healthcare Association or successfully complete an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program and earn related work experience before taking the exam
Medical Assistant Certification
In order to qualify for medical assistant certification in Uniontown, PA, students must complete an accredited medical assistant training program. Once they have completed their training, they will be able to sit for the certification exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be eligible to take the AAMA’s certification exam, students must have graduated from an accredited medical assistant program within the past five years or have completed at least five years of full-time work as a medical assistant within the past 10 years.
Medical Assistant Jobs
Medical assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative tasks in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties might include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records billing patients, and handling correspondence. They also might take patients’ medical histories and vital signs, prepare them for examination, assist the physician during the exam, and collect and prepare laboratory specimens. Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate.
Medical Assistant Job Outlook
The demand for medical assistants is expected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and continued advances in medical technology will lead to an increased need for diagnostic and preventive medical services.
Job prospects should be best for those who have completed formal education programs, such as a certificate from a community college or an associate degree from a 2-year college. Candidates with experience or postsecondary education in medical billing and coding also should have favorable job prospects.
Medical Assistant Career Paths
Medical assistants play a vital role in the healthcare industry by performing administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation and the increase in demand for medical services, the medical assistant career field is expected to grow much faster than average in the coming years.
Medical assistants typically have an Associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate from an accredited institution. Some states require certification for medical assistants, although this is not always necessary. The most important thing for medical assistant job seekers is to have strong interpersonal skills and be able to work well under pressure.
There are many different career paths that medical assistants can take, depending on their interests and skills. Some common career paths include working as a certified medical assistant, registered medical assistant, clinic administrator, or medical billing and coding specialist. With so many options available, there is sure to be a career path that is perfect for you.