What Is A Medical Assistant?

Doctor’s offices and other medical practices are busy places and their success depends on medical assistants to take care of the routine tasks that other employees on staff cannot tend to. Their duties will differ from one location to another depending on the type and size of the facility or office they work in.

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At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it. From the moment you enter ourschool, to graduation and beyond, we are right there with you.

Programs:

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You can prepare for a new career with help from Charter College. Our accelerated Associates Degree, and Certificate programs are designed to help you complete your education as quickly as possible. We offer year-round classes and flexible scheduling - study anytime from anywhere. We provide students not only with the technical skills necessary for success, but also job search and placement assistance so you can find new opportunities after graduation.

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Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.


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Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment. As a student at Southern Technical College, you will have the opportunity learn in several different ways.

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We Are Focused On Your Success!
 
At South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT), we are focused on one thing - preparing you for the career you want by providing you with the skills and knowledge. You’ll find a supportive learning environment and career-focused training that is designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training to succeed.
 
 
Business
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Our Campuses 
STVT offers five convenient locations to get the training to start or advance your career. We’re located in:
 
STVT - Brownsville
2144 Central Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78520
888.822.4046
 
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2000 S Padre Island Dr.
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2400 W Daffodil Ave.
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2419 E Haggar Ave.
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Ultimate Medical Academy is committed to helping you succeed in a healthcare career. That’s why we offer assistance from the very beginning, throughout training, and even after you graduate. One-on-one tutoring, pre-interview coaching, job search assistance, alumni services—they’re all included in our competitively priced tuition.

 

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At a Glance

Medical Assistant TrainingOther Job Titles: Medical Office Assistant, Assistant Medical Officer, Clinical Assistant
Salary Range: $20,000-$40,000; Median $29,000
Education/Training Required:
High school diploma or equivalency
Desired Skills/Aptitude:
Interpersonal and communication skills; technical skills to use equipment for measuring vital signs; computer skills; detail-oriented
Certification/Licensing:
Not required but certification is available
Locations with Best Opportunities:
California, Idaho, District of Columbia, Connecticut
Employment Outlook:
Expected growth by 31% to 2020 (faster than average)
Opportunities for Advancement:
With continuing education, any medical field is open; Continuing education allows physicians to use medical assistants on tasks of greater complexity provided they are allowed to by state law.

What a Medical Assistant Does

It is important to recognize that a medical assistant is not the same as a physician’s assistant. Physician’s assistants work more with doctors in diagnosing and treating patients.

A medical assistant performs a variety of tasks to keep a clinic or other medical practice running smoothly and efficiently. Their responsibilities can be categorized in the following tasks groups of a medical facility:

  • Administrative
  • Patient care
  • Operations
  • Laboratory

They handle basic administrative tasks that are necessary in a medical office. This includes duties such as updating medical records and scheduling appointments. They may also deal with suppliers, maintenance personnel, and anything else that a doctor needs. Increasingly, with more healthcare facilities using electronic claims submissions, the medical assistant may be involved with the proper coding of those claims using CPT, ICD, and HCPCs code terminology.

Assistants are involved in patient care and usually are the most visible to the many that come to a facility each day. Any problems a patient may have will typically be seen to by an assistant.

They are also on the front lines of office operations. Sometimes you will find them doing lab sample processing, taking vital signs, arranging procedures, and preparing patients for exams. Using them on these tasks depends upon their level of training.

A medical assistant may be specialized in larger healthcare facilities. For example, there might be those who do strictly paperwork, claims transmissions, and recordkeeping. These would be classified as administrative medical assistants.

Then, those who work more on the clinical/laboratory side would be classified as clinical medical assistants. The latter would be responsible for such tasks as sterilizing medical equipment, drawing blood, removing stitches, and instructing patients on medication.

The Workplace

Medical assistants work mostly in doctor’s offices and healthcare clinics. In doctor’s offices, they are usually fulltime employees. In hospital and other 24-hour facilities, they may work shifts.

Education and Certification

If in high school, a student who desires to become a medical assistant should take courses in anatomy, biology, and chemistry.

Most states do not require formal post-secondary education to be a medical assistant. However, you improve your chances of being hired by completing a certificate program or associate’s degree program through a vocational or trade school.

Usually, there is no certification requirement for medical assistants but will help with employment opportunities as well. Certification is available in four ways:

  • CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant through the National Health Career Association)
  • CMA (Certified Medical Assistant through the American Association of Medical Assistants or AAMA)
  • RMA (Registered Medical Assistant through the American Medical Technologists)
  • NCMA (National Certified Medical Assistant through the National Center for Competency Testing)

The only certification that requires post-secondary education is the CMA. The training program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).