Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics running smoothly. Their duties vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner’s specialty. When you look at their list of duties, it’s easy to see how medical assisting can be considered the jack-of-all-trades in the world of medicine.
Administrative duties include:
Updating and filing medical records
Filling out insurance forms
Arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services
Handling billing and bookkeeping
Purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment
Clinical duties depend on the state you work in, but they can include:
Taking medical histories and recording vital signs
Explaining treatment procedures to patients
Preparing patients for examination
Assisting the physician during the examination
Collecting and preparing lab specimens
Performing basic laboratory tests
Sterilizing medical equipment
Arranging exam room instruments
Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants. A PA can actually examine, diagnose and treat patients under the direct supervision of a doctor.
Our busy physician’s practice is looking for a medical assistant who will assist with administrative and clinical duties at our facility. The successful candidate will gather patient records and test results, coordinate daily administrative tasks, prepare treatment rooms for examinations and assist our practitioners during medical procedures.
You must be certified through a medical assistant program and have at least two years of prior experience in a medical setting. Having a basic understanding of patient care and medical terminology will be a huge advantage.
Typical duties include:
Gathering and recording patient medical histories, vitals, test results and other information for medical records.
Coordinating daily administrative activities, including scheduling, patient check-in and check-out and medical record maintenance.
Preparing exam rooms and assisting practitioners with medical procedures
Delivering compassionate care to patients
Ensuring confidentiality and compliance with all health care regulations, including HIPAA
Certification from a medical assistant program
At least two years experience in a medical setting
High school diploma or equivalent
Basic understanding of patient care, medical terminology, coding procedures, reference tools and clinical pharmacology
Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills
Familiarity with electronic medical health record (EMHR) systems
The average medical assistant makes about $16 an hour but pay will vary by experience and location. Most medical assistants work full-time. Some work evenings, weekends or holidays to cover shifts in hospitals, which are always open.
There typically aren’t formal education requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states. But some employers may prefer to hire assistants who have college degrees.
Medical assistant programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools and universities. They take about a year to complete and you’ll get a certification. Some community colleges offer two-year programs where you’ll get an associate’s degree. All programs include lessons in anatomy and medical terminology.
As you gain experience as a medical assistant, you can specialize in a certain area of practice and move into a leadership role. With additional education, you can advance into other healthcare occupations such as registered nurse, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.
The job outlook for medical assistants is strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities are predicted to rise 29% from 2016-26… way faster than the average for all occupations. The large and aging Baby Boomer population is driving the demand for more medical care. Because of the demand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, enabling them to see more patients. Search for medical assistant jobs on Snag.