What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

A medical assistant is a vital member of the healthcare team. They perform a variety of tasks in order to keep the office running smoothly.

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Job Description

Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team. They perform many important tasks, from administrative duties to clinical tasks. Most Medical assistants work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, or clinics.

Medical assistants usually have at least a high school diploma, although some have completed formal training programs. Many states have certification programs for Medical Assistants

The duties of medical assistants vary depending on the type of healthcare facility they work in and the state they work in. However, there are some common duties that all medical assistants perform. These include:

Administrative duties: Medical assistants perform many administrative tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and keeping medical records
Clinical duties: Medical assistants also perform many clinical tasks, such as taking patient vital signs and giving injections.
Laboratory duties: In some settings, medical assistants may also be responsible for performing basic laboratory tests, such as blood tests.


Medical assistants perform many duties to support the work of physicians and other health professionals. They are often the first point of contact with patients and play a key role in ensuring that medical offices run smoothly.

Common medical assistant duties include taking and recording patient medical histories, measuring vital signs, administering injections, preparing patients for examination, helping with office laboratory procedures, scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, handling billing and insurance matters, and transcribing physicians’ orders. Many medical assistants also take on additional responsibilities such as patient education, health promotion activities, and management tasks.


The education for a medical assistant varies depending on the employer. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited medical assistant program, while others may be open to on-the-job training. In most cases, medical assistants need to have a high school diploma or equivalent before they can begin training.

Some medical assistants choose to further their education and complete a certificate or associate’s degree program in medical assisting. These programs typically take two years to complete and include courses in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, Medical Terminology and clinical procedures.


There are a number of ways to become a certified medical assistant. One way is to attend an accredited school and earn a certificate or diploma. Another way is to earn a degree from an accredited college or university. Once you have completed your education, you will need to pass an exam given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to earn your certification.


Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team, providing support to both medical professionals and patients. Though their duties vary depending on the size and type of facility they work in, most medical assistants have similar responsibilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical assistants was $34,800 in 2016.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical assistants is very good. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging baby-boom generation will require more preventive medical services, which are often provided by medical assistants. As physicians increasingly group together in practices, they will need more support personnel, such as medical assistants, to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.

Career Paths

Medical assistants perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks to support the work of physicians and other health professionals. They are vital members of the healthcare team who work closely with patients, nurses, and doctors to provide quality care.

Medical assistants typically have an associate degree or certificate from a medical assistant program. Some states have certification requirements for medical assistants.

The duties of medical assistants vary depending on the size, location, and type of healthcare facility in which they work. In small practices, medical assistants may be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including scheduling appointments, taking patient histories, checking vital signs, and assisting with examinations. In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants typically have more specialized duties, such as working in the billing office or performing laboratory tests.

Medical assistants may also be involved in patient education, providing instructions on taking medication or how to manage a chronic disease. They may also teach patients how to take care of their incisions after surgery or how to manage their pain medication regimen.

Pros and Cons

Working as a medical assistant has its pros and cons. Like any job, it has some aspects that are enjoyable and others that are less so. It’s important to understand both the good and the bad before you decide if this is the right career for you.

-Many medical assistants enjoy working in the medical field and helping others.
-The job is usually stable and offers opportunities for advancement.
-Medical assistants typically work regular hours in clean and comfortable surroundings.
-Most states do not require certification for entry-level positions.

-The job can be stressful at times, especially when dealing with sick or injured patients.
-Medical assistants sometimes have to work long hours, including evenings and weekends.
-The pay is often not as high as you would like it to be.


Medical assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically trained to work in outpatient facilities such as medical offices and clinics. They perform both clinical and administrative tasks, such as patient intake, vital signs recording, and general office duties. They may also be responsible for scheduling appointments, assisting with insurance paperwork, and handling billing and coding.

10 Steps to Becoming a Medical Assistant

Becoming a medical assistant is a great way to get started in the medical field. Medical assistants are in high demand, and the job outlook is very positive. If you’re thinking about becoming a medical assistant, here are 10 steps to get you started:

1. Get your high school diploma or GED. A high school diploma or GED is required to become a medical assistant.

2. Complete an accredited medical assisting program. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer accredited medical assisting programs. These programs usually take between one and two years to complete, and they will prepare you for the various tasks you’ll be performing as a medical assistant.

3. Pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. The CMA exam is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be eligible to take the exam, you must have graduated from an accredited medical assisting program and completed at least five years of work experience as a medical assistant.

4. Earn your state license, if required. Some states require medical assistants to be licensed in order to practice. Check with your state’s Board of Medicine to see if this is the case in your state.

5. Get certified in CPR and basic life support (BLS). As a medical assistant, you will be responsible for providing CPR and first aid in the event of an emergency. It is important that you are certified in both CPR and BLS before you begin working as a medical assistant.

6. Find a job as a medical assistant. Once you have all of the necessary credentials, it’s time to start looking for a job as amedical assistant. There are many websites that list job openings for medical assistants, so be sure to check them out!

7. Start working as a medical assistant! Once you find a job as amedical assistant, it’s time to start working! You will be responsible for performing various tasks such as taking patient histories, scheduling appointments, and providing customer service support . . . just to name a few! Be sure to do your best and provide quality care for each and every patient that comes into the office!

8. Advance your career by Pursuing Further Education & Training: After working as a medical assistant for some time, you may decide that you want to pursue further education or training in order to advance your career . One way to do this is by taking courses online or through specialized training programs offered by community colleges or vocational schools . Another option would be earning certification in specialties such administrative medicine , ophthalmology , podiatry , or chiropractic medicine . There are many different paths that you can take when it comes to advancing your career as amedical assistant , so be sure explore all of your options !
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