The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office depending on office location, size, and specialty. In small practices medical assistants are usually “generalists,” handling both administrative and clinical duties. They would report directly to an office manager, physician or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area under the supervision of department administrators or practice managers. With a Medical Assistant Degree you can pursue an exciting and rewarding career in the field of medicine, and play a critical role in today’s health care system. The Medical Assisting programs consist of four areas of training: clinical, administrative, laboratory, and externship. You will find below a list of medical assisting schools.

Medical Assistant SchoolsWhat is Medical Assisting?

Medical Assisting covers routine tasks to ensure the smooth running of the offices of physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and other Health Care Providers. The work can be separated into Administrative Medical Assisting and Clinical Assisting but most involved in Medical Assisting are able to cover both elements of the work.

The work includes medical tasks and procedures such as checking vital signs, administering medication, giving injections and recording information relevant to the patient. Collecting and preparing specimens for laboratory tests, preparing and handling medical instruments as well as keeping records. This is a varied and responsible job relieving doctors from routine tasks.

Medical Assisting is work carried out under the supervision of a doctor, who must be present, so it takes place in hospitals and clinics rather than the patient’s home. Medical Assisting is not to be confused with being a doctor or a nurse.

There are good job prospects for Medical Assisting. Generally there is a 40 hour week but part time work, evening and weekends opportunities are also available.

What Training is needed to become a Medical Assistant?

The training is much shorter than for other health care workers and it is affordable.Professional certification is voluntary but more and more employers are expecting medical assistants to be certified as a proof of competence.

The American Association of Medical Assisting, founded in 1956, offers the certification exam. This can be done online and is run in consultation with the National Board of Medical Examiners who also administer national examinations for doctors. The exam can be taken at computer testing centers across the States. Candidates should have completed, successfully, an accredited medical assisting program to be eligible for the certification exam. It is worth checking that any course considered is properly accredited.

Courses can be found in vocational High Schools, post secondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. The courses include; anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, keyboarding, transcription, record keeping, accounting, insurance processing, laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, administration of medication and health care facilities. This gives a basic foundation to understand what the Health Care Providers are doing and why. Most train through one or two year programs but some individuals prefer to train on the job. It is sometimes, in some States, possible to become specialized in the special interests of the Medical Assisting worker. This might include dealing with allergies and asthma and special training can be undertaken.

What Other Tasks are Involved?

Not only does Medical Assisting include a variety of medical procedures but can also cover a number of administrative activities. These can include; dealing with phone calls, greeting patients, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging hospital admissions and laboratory services. handling bookkeeping and billing. Having an orderly approach to the work is important to keep all these different elements workable and functioning well. Medical assisting can thus be a point of contact between the patient and the Health Care Providers, easing patient fears by answering questions because they know how the system works and releasing doctors to do what they are trained to do.

This work covers a wide range of activities giving variety and interest to the day. For anyone who enjoys contact with people this can be a rewarding and pleasing job. Working closely with patients allows the Medical Assistant to establish a relationship with the patient. Having someone who can cover this number of jobs for the patient means the patient can be more at ease as sometimes patients are timid about asking doctors questions because they feel they are taking up their valuable time.