The work of healthcare professionals is essential to all communities. In many settings, doctors rely on medical assistants to deliver consistent, quality healthcare to their patients.
Medical assistants often serve as the first point of contact between healthcare providers and patients. They work directly with doctors to triage patients, take their vital signs, and collect information about their health concerns.
The profession has grown in importance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, medical assistants are highly sought after across a range of healthcare settings, including hospitals, hospice care facilities, nursing homes, dental offices, physical therapy clinics, and more.
What are the job duties of a medical assistant?
According to WebMD, a medical assistant must be able to balance several clinical and administrative duties to succeed in the role.
The clinical duties of a medical assistant include:
- Recording symptoms
- Updating medical history charts
- Performing basic lab tests
- Assisting doctors during physical exams
- Handling prescription refill requests
Examples of administrative duties include:
- Scheduling appointments
- Greeting patients
- Organizing medical records
- Coding and completing insurance forms
- Handling billing, bookkeeping, and general office mail
What are the required skills and training?
Because medical assistants work directly with patients and medical records, they must possess the appropriate combination of education and training to work in the medical field.
The educational component may require up to two years of school. Interested students can apply to accredited programs through vocational schools, universities, and junior colleges. Most programs are split up into three segments: administrative education, clinical education, and an externship at an approved healthcare facility.
While medical assistants themselves do not need to be certified to work in the healthcare field, many choose to pursue a certification, e.g. through the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certifications demonstrate expertise and can expand future career options for medical assistants.
Why should you consider a career as a medical assistant?
Medical assistants are an invaluable resource to healthcare providers across the board. Not only is the work crucial to the field, it is also extremely fulfilling.
Although medical assistants cannot give medical advice, they do work directly with both doctors and patients. Thus, the role provides a good starting point to explore additional career paths in healthcare, including nursing, medical coding, and healthcare administration.
Green Key Healthcare recruiters are committed to matching the best healthcare professionals to the right opportunities to help unlock potential in your career, teams, and patient care. Visit our jobs board to begin your healthcare job search today.