Choosing medical assisting is a good career choice now with employment expected to increase 29 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_104.htm. With a high school diploma, you can enroll in a one year program to earn a certificate or a two year program to earn an associate’s degree. You can complete your course work at vocational schools, community colleges or online universities that let you attend class on a flexible schedule. The U.S News and World Report includes medical assisting on their list of The Best Jobs of 2014.
Preparing for a Career in Medicine
Classes teach you academic information about subjects that probably interest you already, including anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. Learning to work with medical insurance and understanding medical terminology enables you to work in a doctor’s office or healthcare clinic, and keeping records is usually part of the job.
In class, you learn medical coding and clinical procedures so that you can work productively in a complex medical environment. Training for a job as a medical assistant is not easy, but it has financial rewards when you enter the work force. BLS reports that about 10 percent of medical assistants earn a salary of $21,000 and another 10 percent earn more than $41,000, with the median salary slightly more than $29,370 in 2012 or more than $14 per hour.
Administrative medical assistants usually have limited physical contact with patients, focusing instead on updating medical records and filling out complicated insurance forms. Greeting patients and making them feel comfortable is a valued service that you can provide if you are an outgoing and personable individual. You may get involved in handling office correspondence or billing as part of an administrative function. Other administrative tasks include scheduling appointments and answering phone calls as typical functions in the management of a medical office.
Finding Out if Clinical Medical Assisting Suits You
Working with patients may require you to prepare them for an examination, take their medical history, record their vital signs, administer medications or collect specimens for laboratory analysis. You may have to make sure that examination and waiting rooms are maintained in good order, and assisting in sterilizing medical equipment is often a duty of a clinical medical assistant.
Choosing a specialty is an option for clinical medical assistants, and some of the popular fields include chiropractic medicine, podiatry and optometry. By choosing a school that offers training in specialized branches of medicine may increase your chances of working in a field that especially appeals to you.
Volunteering at a nursing home or helping an organization that gives free blood pressure tests can give you experience in working with patients, and you can include your experiences on your resume when you apply for a job. If you enjoy helping other people, some of whom are sick, and the sight of blood does not bother you, then you may have a good fit with a medical assisting career.
Graduating and Getting Certified
When you complete your course work and earn certification, you are prepared to enter the work force as a Certified Medical Assistant. While some medical offices allow you to work and learn on the job, the path to success usually requires formal training. Working as a medical assistant on the administrative side or on the medical side provides challenging and rewarding employment opportunities. Completing your course of study broadens your understanding of the complex field of medicine, and it can enrich your life. The field offers opportunities for advancement that you can achieve with on the job training or by furthering your education.
As the population of baby boomers ages and increasingly needs medical services, you can prepare yourself for a lifetime career in providing the help that they need. Most medical assistants work in physicians’ offices, but you may prefer to work in a hospital, an outpatient center, a substance abuse center or a dental office. With a year or two of training and some volunteer work, your future as a medical assistant is promising.