What Can a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team. They perform a variety of tasks, from administrative duties toclinical tasks. If you’re thinking of becoming a medical assistant or are already working in the field, you might be wondering what exactly they can do. Here’s a look at some of the duties Medical assistants typically perform.

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Job Description

A medical assistant is a member of the healthcare team who performs both clinical and administrative tasks in a variety of healthcare settings. They may work in hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, or other healthcare facilities.

Medical assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks, including but not limited to:
-Taking and recording patient medical histories
-Checking patients’ vital signs
-Preparing patients for examinations
-Assisting physicians with examinations and procedures
-Performing routine laboratory tests
-Administering injections and medications
-Schedule appointments and provide patient education


Medical Assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the size and location of the practice and the practitioners’ specialties. In small practices, medical assistants usually are responsible for all aspects of the office, from scheduling appointments to handling billing and coding information for insurance purposes. In larger practices, medical assistants usually are assigned specific duties. Following is a list of common duties for medical assistants:

Clinical duties:
• Take patient histories and record vital signs
• Prepare patients for examination
• Assist the practitioner during the examination
• Instruct patients about medications and special diets
• Collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests
• Authorize prescription refills as directed
• Draw blood
• Remove sutures and change dressings

Administrative duties:
• Schedule appointments
• Answer telephones
• Greet patients
• Update and file patient medical records
• Fill out insurance forms
• Billing and coding information for insurance purposes


The average salary for a medical assistant is about $33,000 per year. However, salary will depend on experience, location, and employer. Medical assistants with more experience and training can earn up to $50,000 per year or more.


Medical assistants are uniquely qualified to perform both administrative and clinical tasks in a medical office, making them a valuable asset to any healthcare team. Although the duties of a medical assistant can vary depending on state regulations and the size and type of medical practice, there are certain tasks that are generally included in the job description.

Most medical assistants have at least a high school diploma, although some have completed postsecondary education, and many employers prefer to hire those with formal training from an accredited medical assisting program. Many programs can be completed in as little as one year and lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs in medical assisting.


There are a variety of ways to become a certified medical assistant. You can attend a traditional brick-and-mortar school, or you can opt for an online education program. Some schools offer certification courses that can be completed in as little as six weeks, while others may require two years or more of study.

The type of certification you will need will depend on the state in which you plan to work. In some states, medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified, while in others, certification is voluntary. In those states where certification is required, the process typically involves passing an exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

Once you have completed your training and passed the exam, you will be awarded the credential of Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). This credential is valid for five years, after which time you will need to renew it by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.

Job Outlook

Medical assistants are in high demand and the job outlook is excellent. With the right training, you can be on your way to a career in medical assisting. There are many different things that medical assistants do, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you start your training.

Medical assistants perform a variety of duties and responsibilities. They may work in clinics, doctor’s offices, or hospitals. Their duties may include but are not limited to: scheduling appointments, taking patient vital signs, recording patient medical history, giving patients injections, preparing patients for examinations, and taking X-rays.

Pros and Cons

Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to support the work of physicians and other health professionals. Their duties vary from office to office, but most medical assistants have responsibilities in four main areas:

Clinical tasks: Medical assistants take patients’ vital signs, measure their height and weight, and document their medical histories. They also prepare patients for examinations, assist physicians during exams, and collect and process laboratory specimens.

Administrative tasks: Medical assistants handle routine office tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, and billing. They also may complete insurance forms, code patients’ medical records for billing purposes, and order supplies.

Laboratory tasks: In some offices, medical assistants perform basic laboratory tests under the supervision of a medical technologist or physician. They may collect blood samples from patients or perform simple diagnostic tests on urine specimens.

Supervisory tasks: Some medical assistants are responsible for training new office staff members and ensuring that the office runs smoothly. If a medical assistant has these supervisory duties, he or she also is likely to have administrative responsibilities as well.

Medical Assistant vs. Nurse

The main difference between a medical assistant and a nurse is that nurses are licensed professionals with more education and training. Medical assistants are not licensed, but they are trained in both administrative and clinical tasks. Depending on their scope of practice, medical assistants may be able to perform limited medical procedures, such as drawing blood or giving injections.

Medical Assistant vs. Doctor

The main difference between a medical assistant and a doctor is that a medical assistant cannot prescribe medication or diagnose patients. A medical assistant also does not have a medical degree. However, a medical assistant can perform many administrative and clinical tasks such as taking patient histories, scheduling appointments, drawing blood, and giving injections.


-Can a medical assistant take x-rays?
-Can a medical assistant give injections?
-Can a medical assistant draw blood?
-Can a medical assistant manage patients’ medications?
-Can a medical assistant perform lab tests?
-Can a medical assistant give physical exams?
-Can a medical assistant provide patient education?

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