The medical assistant job description is a general job description that can be used to describe many different positions in the medical field. Some of these positions are more administration based such as Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Office Assistant. Many of these positions may be more technical in nature such as a Ophthalmic Technician, Optometry Technician, or Outpatient Surgery Assistant. The majority of medical assistant jobs fall more into the category of helping doctors with assisting patients before, during, and after medical procedures. The last group of medical assistants would be designated Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Doctor’s Assistant, Optometry Assistant, or Clinical Assistant.
Who are medical assistants?
A medical assistant is a professional that is skilled in multiple areas and are of great value to a physician. They’re an important part of the medical team helping in patient care, management, organization, and billing. They execute many different functions, for example: administrative medical assistants usually are required to keep up to date and file the medical histories and information on patients. They may also be required to file insurance paperwork including the arranging, organizing, and completing of hospital admissions, lab work, or other testing. Doctors and hospitals rely greatly on the abilities of medical assistants in the United States to keep their records accurate and complete. They are most certainly a very important aspect of the health care system. The medical assistant job description keeps evolving with the advancement of healthcare technology.
Medical Assistant Duties
When reading about the medical assistant job description you will quickly realize there are three main types of medical assistants. The three different types of medical assistants are administrative, clerical, and Clinical. In some health care systems administrative and clerical are interchangeable.
Clerical and administrative medical assistants
The medical assistant job description for clerical and administrative medical assistants is very similar. They both need to have some level of medical knowledge, and the clerical or organizational skills to perform many varying tasks. As an administrative or clerical medical assistant you may start your day scheduling appointments. The middle of your day may consist of typing up letters, filling out insurance forms, and handling mail duties. The end of your day might be a lot of updating patient charts, updating records, or billing and accounting. From that example you can start to see how important all of the tasks that a medical assistant performs can be.
Clinical Medical Assistants
Clinical medical assistants deal more with the procedures that are being performed and with the patients in a more hands on fashion. The medical assistant job description for a clinical medical assistant would include performing ECGs, taking vital signs, phlebotomy, and helping during exams. The job functions of a clinical medical assistant that don’t deal directly with the patient are jobs like sterilizing tools and equipment, performing laboratory work, taking care of treatment rooms, and even taking x-rays in some states.
Many medical assistants choose to perform the duties of both an administrative and clinical medical assistant. Many medical assistants decide on one or the other though and stick solely to the requirements of that job. The medical assistant job description that is followed is up to the employee and employer.
If you plan on being a medical assistant as a long term profession, you will be ahead of many of your peers by taking the appropriate medical assistant training and continuing education classes. To have an advantage over the other applicants, start with a training program in your local community college, vocational technical school, or even a private college. You could go for a certificate program or an associate degree program in medical assistance. You should attempt to complete your on the job training as quickly as possible.
Certification and Licensing
There’s not a standard licensing required for Medical Assistants. Many states ask that you pass a program or exam before you can perform certain duties like taking x-rays for example. Employers prefer to hire medical assistants with experience over applicants with no experience. One way to get a leg up on your competition is to pass an exam or certification so that you will be more qualified than someone who has not. When a potential employer sees that you have passed an exam or certification, that lets them know that you are qualified and are knowledgeable in the field.
Medical Assistant Schedules and Environments
A typical medical assistant will work around 40 hours a week. Doctors and other professionals that they assist generally work Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Since medical assistant jobs basically entail helping them, your schedule will be similar. If you choose to work in a hospital or 24 hour setting, you may be required to work during the weekends or evening hours. Evening and weekend hours in a hospital setting generally pay more. Usually the medical assistants that work in a hospital are the type that handle administrative and clerical duties.
Medical Assistant Job Description – Salary
A medical assistant can earn many different salary ranges. The factors that determine what they are paid are experience, geographic area they work, and skill level. The average yearly salary of a medical assistant is around $30,000. Some medical assistants can make as little as $20,000 a year, while the top earners make well over $40,000 a year.
Medical Assistant job growth is supposed to expand faster than most other jobs over the next few years. This is due to the average age of the population getting older and the advances in medical technology. Medical assisting has been one of the fastest growing career fields over the last decade and its growth is expected to continue. Employment growth is expected to be driven by the large number of clinics and practices that need a large number of personnel on the support side of their operations. The job prospects for medical assistants who are flexible enough to handle both the clinical and administrative tasks are expected to be particularly good.
Hopefully after reading this detailed medical assistant job description you will be able to decide if this is the career path for you. For further research, A CNA is a similar job position.