Medical Assisting Degrees

Career summary: Medical Assistants

Average Salary

$29,370

National Average, Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

Excellent

29% job growth by 2022, which is much faster than average

Earn a degree in medical assisting from an accredited college

Physicians and dentists generally work in an environment where their services are in demand and providing those services in an efficient and timely manner requires the aid of capable assistants. Medical assistants perform a variety of tasks including answering phones, keeping records, scheduling patients, preparing patients for treatment, arranging medical instruments and materials and assisting while the physician or dentist treats patients.

Overview

Medical assisting original

Why would I want a medical assisting degree?

This is a degree that is perfect for those who would like to work in the medical industry, but don’t want to go through years and years of schooling. Generally a degree in medical assisting only takes two years to complete, and it will allow you to work in a professional medical setting working along side doctors and other healthcare professionals in a field that is booming. Jobs in the medical assisting profession will be plentiful for at least the next decade.

Job Description

What do medical assistants do?

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to support physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners to help keep their offices running smoothly. The exact duties of medical assistants can vary greatly depending on their experience and the office they are working in. In bigger offices, they generally are trained in a specific area. In smaller offices, they generally do a wide variety of things from clinical to administrative work.

Some of the duties of medical assistants may include the following: updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance forms, arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services, answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, handling billing and bookkeeping, taking medical histories, recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, assisting physicians during examinations, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, performing basic laboratory tests, disposing of contaminated supplies, sterilizing medical instruments, instructing patients about medications and special diets, preparing and administering medications, authorizing drug refills, telephoning prescriptions to pharmacies, drawing blood, preparing patients for x rays, taking electrocardiograms, removing sutures, changing dressings, arranging examining room instruments and equipment, and purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment. As you can see the duties of medical assistants can be quite diverse depending on their training, experience, and the needs of the facilities that they work in. The duties that are more clinically related must be done under physicians’ supervision and should not be confused with the duties of physicians’ assistants. Physicians’ assistants examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.

Some of the most common places that you will find employment as a medical assistant include:

  • Physicians’ Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Facilities
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

Salary

How much does a medical assistant make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary for medical assistants in 2008 was $28,300. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $39,570. Generally speaking, medical assistants in hospitals make the highest salaries, with a median annual salary of $29,720, and those working in offices of health practitioners who are not physicians tend to make the lowest salaries with a median annual salary of $25,240.

Career Outlook

How popular are medical assistant jobs?

Jobs in medical assisting are very popular, and they will continue to be popular in the foreseeable future. Employment for medical assistants is expected to grow 34% through the year 2018, which is a much faster than average growth rate when compared to the growth rate of all jobs. Spurring the job growth is an aging population, rapid increases in conditions like obesity and diabetes, and technological advances in the medical field. The job outlook for those with formal training and/or experience in the field is particularly good.

Career Path

How can I become a medical assistant?

Medical assisting is one of the very few areas in the medical field in which no formal training is needed. Medical assisting is something that can actually be learned on the job. With that said, most medical assistants have a two-year degree, and jobs for those with a degree are much more plentiful. Salaries are also higher for assistants who have received formal training, so a degree in medical assisting is well worth the investment.

Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Learning Format

Location

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Medical Assisting Schools (87)

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