What Does a Medical Assistant Do in a Doctor’s Office?

If you’re considering a career in medical assisting, you’re probably wondering what a typical day on the job looks like. Here’s a quick overview of the duties Medical assistants typically perform in a doctor’s office.

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Job Description

In a doctor’s office, a medical assistant performs many clinical and administrative tasks. The day-to-day duties of a medical assistant vary depending on the size and type of doctor’s office. In a small office, a medical assistant might be responsible for all aspects of running the office, from answering phones to scheduling patients. In a larger office, the medical assistant’s duties might be more focused. One week, he or she might spend most of the time taking patient histories and performing basic laboratory tests; another week, the medical assistant might work primarily in the billing department. No matter what the job entails, however, it is always important for a medical assistant to be able to think on his or her feet and handle whatever task comes his or her way.

Medical assistants must have excellent communication skills. They interact with patients regularly and must be able to put them at ease. Medical Assistants also need to be able to communicate effectively with doctors and other members of the healthcare team. Because they are often responsible for scheduling appointments and ordering laboratory tests, they need to be able to follow instructions accurately and pay attention to detail.

Organizational skills are important for medical assistants because they often have to keep track of patients’ records and handle frequently changing schedules. Medical assistants should also be comfortable using computers, as they will likely be responsible for entering data into electronic health records (EHRs).


The expanded heading would cover the different duties a medical assistant may be responsible for in a doctor’s office. This could include tasks such as greeting patients, scheduling appointments, handling Insurance forms, and more.

Education and Training

A medical assistant is a person who has completed an accredited educational program and has received certification from a professional organization. Many community colleges and technical schools offer two-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree or certificate in medical assisting. Some four-year colleges offer bachelor’s degree programs in medical assisting, although most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a two-year program.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $34,800 in 2018. Job prospects for medical assistants are expected to be good, with the BLS projecting that employment in this field will grow by 29% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.


Medical assistants are trained to perform both clinical and administrative duties in a variety of healthcare settings. Many medical assistants choose to specialize in either clinical or administrative work, although some are cross-trained to perform both types of duties. Clinical duties may include taking and recording medical histories, measuring patients’ vital signs, preparing them for examination, assisting the physician during the exam, and collecting and preparing laboratory specimens. Administrative medical assistant duties may include scheduling appointments, verifying insurance coverage, handling billing and coding information, maintaining medical records and handling correspondence.

In order to become a certified medical assistant, you must complete an accredited medical assisting program and pass a certification exam. Certification exams are offered by several organizations, including the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Once you have passed a certification exam, you will be eligible to apply for state licensure, if required.


The demands of the job may vary depending on the size and type of the doctor’s office, but there are some common duties and skills that all medical assistants must possess.

The ability to communicate effectively is important in any customer service-related position, but it is crucial for medical assistants. They must be able to understand and explain complex medical procedures to patients, as well as relay instructions from doctors to patients.

Organizational skills are also a necessity, as medical assistants must often juggle multiple tasks at once. They may be responsible for managing patient records, scheduling appointments, handling billing and insurance claims, and keeping track of office supplies.

Medical assistants also need to have basic accounting skills to perform their job duties effectively. In many cases, they are responsible for collecting payments from patients, posting payments to patient accounts, and preparing bank deposits.

Computer skills are important for medical assistants, as they will need to use computers for a variety of tasks such as scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and processing insurance claims. Medical assistants should have a basic understanding of common computer applications such as word processing and spreadsheet programs.

Working Conditions

The working conditions for medical assistants vary greatly depending on their place of employment. They may work in a small private clinic or in a large hospital. They may work in an outpatient facility or in a physicians office. Some medical assistants work full time while others work part time. Hours may be regular or they may vary according to the needs of the facility where they work. Many medical assistants work evening and weekend hours.

Advancement Opportunities

There are many ways for medical assistants to advance their careers. They may become certified, which requires passing an exam, and they may also specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as ophthalmology or pediatrics. Some medical assistants go on to pursue careers as registered nurses or other medical professionals.

Key Terms

As a medical assistant, you will perform both clinical and administrative duties in a doctor’s office. These duties may include but are not limited to taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examination, assisting the physician during the exam, drawing blood, performing laboratory tests, scheduling appointments and handling billing and insurance forms.

In order to perform your duties effectively, you must be familiar with the following key terms:

-Medical history: A record of a patient’s pastillnesses, surgeries and treatments.
-Vital signs: Body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and respirations.
-Examination: A physical examination of a patient performed by a physician.
-Laboratory tests: Tests performed on blood, urine or other body fluids to diagnose disease.
-Billing: The process of submitting insurance claims and collecting payments from patients.
-Insurance forms: Forms used to file insurance claims.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a medical assistant do in a doctor’s office?

A medical assistant is a trained professional who works in a doctor’s office to support the physician and staff. Medical assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks, including answering phones, scheduling appointments, taking patient medical histories, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during examinations. They may also be responsible for giving patients instructions on follow-up care and handling laboratory specimens. In some states, medical assistants may also be able to perform basic diagnostic tests and give injections.

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