Whether you are a young person deciding on which college to attend, or an experienced person looking for a career change, considering the opportunities in the general career area of medical assistant might be worth looking into.
The medical assistant title is actually a general title. Specific job titles under this general title include Clinical Laboratory Worker, Licensed Practical Nurse, Surgical Technician, and even Veterinary Assistant. There are a few other specific job titles, as well, but this gives the reader an idea of the scope of careers that fall under this general title.
In general, medical assistants work under the direction of a licensed medical doctor. One can expect to work along with other health-related personnel and they can also supervise medical secretaries and clerks. In overall functions, the assistants help keep the medical offices running smoothly by assisting the licensed doctors, and they run routine administrative and clinical work, and they can also perform more specific duties.
Overall, approximately 62% of assistants work in doctor’s offices. Approximately 12% work in hospitals, and another 11% work in other health-related offices. Some specific duties that one can expect to perform include direct contact with patients, as well as other administrative tasks. A person may perform such tasks as taking a patient’s pulse, checking blood pressure, and measuring height and weight of a patient. They may also do indirect patient tasks such as operating an EKG machine or other laboratory equipment, and handing equipment to doctors. They may also draw blood and administer injections.
Some of the administrative tasks may include interviewing patients, scheduling laboratory procedures, and giving instruction to patients concerning medication or diet. They may also perform transcriptions, inventory medicine or medical supplies, and prepare exam rooms for patients.
The working conditions are often similar to most doctor offices. They are generally very clean and well lighted. They often work around dangerous or hazardous material, and must work in environments where contamination and communicable diseases are present. Medical assistants generally hold the same work hours as doctors and health professionals, and sometimes work odd shifts, and must be available for on-call and standby work. Travel is sometimes required such as delivering medicine to an elderly patient or between medical facilities.
Demand is currently high for this type of work, and is expected to remain high for at least the next eight years. The average starting salary in 2008 for medical assistants was approximately $28,000. Assistants can find both full time and part time work.
One must have a high school diploma and usually enroll in a 2-year program through local community colleges. Medical assistants do not need licensing, although some specific job titles have licensed requirements. Choosing a career path such as this, one can expect to find employment with a reasonable amount of schooling, and a wide-range of specific opportunities.