The field of healthcare is growing, and medical assistants are at the heart of much of this growth.
Work of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients' medical records, filling out insurance forms, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and the handling of patient billing.
Medical assistants usually work in an office environment for physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. They should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.
Outlook and Salary
Employment of medical assistants is predicted to grow, much faster than the U.S. average for all jobs. The increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other health care facilities in need of more support personnel may fuel the demand for medical assistants, particularly those with certification or formal training.
A job as a medical assistant can be a stepping stone to other careers, including nursing, teaching future medical assistants, or office management.
Education and Training
Some medical assistants are trained on the job, however, many complete in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges.
Students completing a postsecondary program are typically awarded a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree. Job prospects are usually greater for those with some formal education or training.
For more information about medical assistants, visit The Bureau of Labor Statistics.