Medical Assistant Training

in Medical

Medical assistant training schools get you ready to help with clerical and clinical areas of doctors’ offices. Since medical assistants interact with lots of people, from patients on the phone to surgeons in the office, medical assistants need great people skills and top-notch multitasking abilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that medical assistant career opportunities should increase by 34 percent between 2008 and 2018, placing medical assistants among the top growing jobs of the new decade.
Overview of Medical Assistant Training
According to the BLS, medical assistants earned a yearly median pay of $28,300 in 2008, with the highest 10 percent earning over $39,570. Job prospects should be particularly good for medical assistants with experience, certification and training from certified medical assistant training schools. Though formal certification may not always be required to find a job, your training program can polish your resume while giving you invaluable knowledge and experience in medical assisting.
Make no mistake: medical assistants are not the same thing as physicians’ assistants. While physicians’ assistants may personally diagnose and treat patients with the help of a doctor, medical assistants often perform clerical tasks, with some minor clinical work. Your duties could vary depending on your specialty area and employer. Types of medical assistants include:
Administrative: these medical assistants often do more clerical tasks, such as answering phones, setting up appointments, managing doctors’ schedules, and organizing medical records.
Ophthalmic and optometric: these medical assistants usually test patients’ vision, apply eye dressings, and instruct patients on proper eye care.
Podiatric: podiatric medical assistants often work with x-rays and help their supervising podiatrists with surgical procedures.
Clinical: responsibilities of clinical assistants may include preparing patients for doctor exams, recording medical histories, setting up medical equipment, and occasionally doing basic laboratory tests.
After earning your degree, you can seek employment at many health facilities, including:
Large public hospitals
Podiatrists’ offices
Nursing homes
Chiropractors’ offices
Family doctors’ offices
Optometrists’ offices
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2008 about 62 percent of medical assistants worked in physicians’ offices; 13 percent were found in hospitals; 11 percent worked for various healthcare professionals; and the rest held jobs in other healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and outpatient centers.
Medical Assistant Training: Degrees and Coursework
You can find medical assisting training programs at:
Junior colleges
Vocational schools
Community colleges
Most medical assistants enter training programs with a high school diploma. Medical assistant training programs typically last one to two years. While one year programs may grant you a certificate or diploma, two year programs usually award associate’s degrees. If you are especially ambitious, you might decide to get certified by nationally recognized medical assistant organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the Association of Medical Technologists (AMT). While national certification may not be mandatory for employment, it can lead to better pay and increased job opportunities. During your medical assistant training program, you can take courses in:
Insurance processing
Medical law
In addition to your formal training, you should seek out hands-on experience during your medical assistant degree program. You can choose to volunteer at a local hospital or secure a paid internship through your school’s career center.
Medical Assistant Career Outlook
The rising rate of obesity and diabetes combined with the recent boom in America’s healthcare industry should ensure superb job opportunities for medical assistants in the coming years. According to the BLS, 164,900 new medical assistant jobs should be added between 2008 and 2018.
If you decide you wish to switch jobs during your medical assistant career, your medical assistant training can provide a strong base for many related healthcare careers. With some extra training and experience, you could branch out into office management, nursing or medical teaching.

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Medical Assistant Training

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This article was published on 2010/10/01