If you’re looking to start a new career without too many years of training and enjoy helping others then becoming a medical assistant could be a perfect fit. The high demand for medical assistants, competitive salary, and many quick online qualification programs make it one of the most attractive choices for a new career.
What Are Medical Assistants?
As the name suggests, a medical assistant is someone who helps doctors in their clinic and medical care facilities. Medical assistants do a mix of office work and health work. This includes everything from basic office duties like handling the phone and greeting patients, to filing and filling out patient files, completing insurance forms, booking tests and checking on the status of procedures.
It can also include writing down a patient’s medical history, explaining a surgery to them, helping the doctor during a visit with a patient, taking blood and doing electrocardiograms.¹ Some medical assistants choose to focus only on the office or clinical side, while others handle both sides.
The Growing Demand for Medical Assistants
The demand for medical assistants is going up every year and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 23 percent by 2028.² As America ages with longer and longer average lifespans the need for medical professionals increases, too.
How to Become a Medical Assistant
The best way to become a medical assistant is to get certified online through one of the many available and affordable options.³ It is possible to get a respected and job-ready medical assistant degree in under one year and once you have graduated you are licensed to work across the United States. Unlike a doctor or nurse you will not need to get specific permission to practice in each state.
Advantages of Becoming a Medical Assistant
In addition to allowing you to have a flexible schedule, being a medical assistant gives you a wide range of choices of where to work. This can mean you work in a doctor’s clinic, a hospital, a nursing or retirement home, an outpatient facility or even a physiotherapist or chiropractor’s office. The choices are endless and can fit into the specifics of what you are looking for, where you are most comfortable and where your skills will be best put to use. With an average 2019 salary of $35,601 the job also pays quite competitively, too.⁴
The Process of Becoming a A Medical Assistant
As mentioned, becoming a medical assistant does not take that long. The most important thing to check about the course you take—in person or online—is that it is certified by the CAAHEP (Commission On Accreditation Of Allied Health Education Programs) or by ABHES (the Accrediting Bureau Of Health Education Schools).
If you are hoping to bridge out into more advanced, higher paying—and more specialized—medical assistant work then you should consider taking a two-year associate degree. Either way, once your education is complete you will do clinical training, which is often included in the degree, followed up by taking the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) test authorized by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
The Diversity Of Jobs Available As A Medical Assistant
There are many jobs available in the medical assistant field and they involve a wide variety of skills. These include everything from becoming a specialized EKG technician to a phlebotomy technician or a ward clerk in a hospital.
It is best to spend some time considering all your options when you look into enrolling in a medical assistant degree program. You’ll want to make sure you choose a program that fits your schedule and desired career path. The good news is there is an enormous amount of work out there as a medical assistant that you can be ready for in quite a short time.
The easiest way to get started is to do some research online and compare a few options. A simple search can reveal many of the different programs that will help get you started on your way to a rewarding new career as a medical assistant.