How to Become a Medical Assisstant

People interested in how to become a Medical Assistant should realize that it takes time and dedication. Medical assistants perform a wide variety of tasks within the medical community. They are commonly employed by doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals. Their job is a hybrid of administrative and clinical tasks. Medical assistants have a great deal of contact with patients and should display a caring, sympathetic attitude. The first step to becoming a medical assistant is to get the right training. Since the demand for Medical Assistants is expected to grow exponentially, job opportunities for well-educated candidates should be abundant.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

The specific duties carried out by a Medical Assistant will vary depending upon where they are employed. In smaller offices, the work tends to be quite diverse, with some medical assistants taking on the roles of office manager in addition to their clinical and clerical duties. Larger practices may have medical assistants who have a much narrower focus. Most medical assistants will update and record patient histories, complete insurance paperwork and arrange for patients to be admitted to the hospital. They may also greet clients, answer telephones and deal with bookkeeping. On the clinical side, the medical assistant may take a patient’s vital signs and assist physicians during examinations. They may help prepare patients for procedures and conduct basic laboratory tests. In the medical assistant’s day, they must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Getting the Right Training

Most medical assistants complete two years of training at a community college or vocational school to earn an associate degree for an entry level position. Students can expect to encounter courses like anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, transcription, accounting and medical insurance processes. They will also become familiar with laboratory procedures, diagnostic techniques, first aid and the administration of medications. Topics such as ethics and medical law will also be introduced. Many different professional organizations provide accreditation for medical assistant training programs across the country. It is important to verify that a program is fully accredited before enrollment. Doing so ensures that the education program is recognized as being a solid preparation for a career.

Become a Certified Medical Assistant

Certification is not a requirement to work in this field. However, most employers show a definite preference for certified medical assistants. Certification demonstrates knowledge and competence, two things highly valued by potential employers. The most prestigious certifying organization is the American Association of Medical Assistants. Passing their certification exam is considered the gold standard within the industry and many employers look for this qualification on a resume. To qualify to sit for the exam, the candidate must first be a graduate of an accredited program. Then, they may apply to take the exam. Once they pass the exam, they will be a certified medical assistant.

Finding a First Job

Many education programs feature job placement assistance. Having the right training and a certification should make it relatively simple to locate employment in this fast growing field. With perseverance and continuing education, it’s easy to find out how to become a Medical Assistant and turn it into a successful career.

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