7 Reasons Medical Assisting is a Good Career Option
Whenever you visit a doctor’s office, it’s likely that the first person you interact with in the exam room isn’t a doctor or a nurse, but a medical assistant. Medical assistants get to work one-on-one with patients, taking down their personal histories, and vital signs. In some practices, they also schedule appointments and record information in patients’ files. Some also assist the physician during the exam.
Medical assistants play a vital role ensuring that the day-to-day operations of a medical practice run smoothly and that patients receive the care they need. Medical assistants are so important that one paper called them the “invisible glue” that holds primary care practices together in the US.
If you are interested in a career in the health sciences field, earning a medical assisting certification can prove to be a way to get your foot in the door. Here are a few reasons why medical assisting might be the best career option for you.
1. Employment Opportunities for Medical Assistants Are Expected to Increase
There’s considerable demand for medical assistants and that demand is only expected to grow. In 2016, there were around 634,400 medical assistants employed in the US. By 2026, that number is expected to increase to 818,400, an increase of 29 percent. Overall, the medical assisting field is expected to grow much more quickly than other occupations and more quickly than other occupations in the healthcare industry.
2. You Can Get Started as a Medical Assistant Quickly
Unlike other careers in the medical and healthcare field, which require years of education and then additional years of training, less educational barriers are required to become a medical assistant. Earning a post-secondary medical assisting certificate can help to improve your employability, making you a more desirable hire. Usually, a certificate program can be completed in a year or less. The medical assistant programs at Orange Technical College are 45 weeks long.
3. Medical Assisting Is a Stable Career (and the Pay’s Not Bad, Either)
According to US News and World Report, the unemployment rate for medical assistants is around 3.5 percent, slightly lower than the national average. Many medical assistants end up working in full-time positions, often in physician’s offices.
The pay for a medical assistant is reasonable. As of 2017, the median annual salary for a medical assistant was $32,480. Earners in the top 10 percent of the field had annual salaries above $45,900.
4. You Get to Help Other People
One thing that makes medical assisting an appealing career choice for many people is that the job includes a human element. When you work as a medical assistant, you get to connect with people and build relationships with them. Not only do you get to work with patients and help to make them feel better, you also get to forge connections with the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals your office.
5. There’s Never a Dull Moment
If you can’t imagine yourself doing a job that would require you to do the same thing each day, then a career as a medical assistant might be right for you.
Medical assistants have a lot of different responsibilities, based on the practice where they work. You might spend one day working directly with patients, then spend the next inputting data into your employer’s electronic medical records system. Depending on your interests, you might be able to tailor your role in a physician’s office to take advantage of your biggest strengths.
6. Medical Assisting Can Be Flexible
Although medical assistants do typically work 40-hour weeks and some medical assistants might need to work nights or on the weekends, there’s more flexibility in the career than in other healthcare professions.
You’re not likely to have to be on call when you work as a medical assistant, for example. If you work in a physician’s office that is open during business hours only, you can avoid having to work on the weekends or late at night.
7. Medical Assisting Can Be a Stepping Stone to Other Things
There is upward mobility in the medical assisting profession for the right person. Graduating with a career certificate in medical assisting can pave the way towards earning an associate’s degree and also leads the way to becoming either a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).
There is also occasionally the opportunity for a medical assistant to move up the ladder at their employer. Some medical assistants move on to higher-paying administrator roles after a few years on the job. Others decide that they enjoy working with patients so much that they decide to return to school to earn a degree in nursing or another patient-centered profession.
Orange Technical College offers medical assisting certificates at three of our five campuses in Florida: Avalon, Westside, and Winter Park. If you are ready to learn more about the benefits of a medical assisting career, request more information about our medical assisting programs today.
- “Medical assistants: the invisible “glue” of primary health care practices in the United States?,” Journal of Health Organization and Management, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20698404010.pdf
- “Medical Assistants: Job Outlook,” The Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6
- “Medical Assistant,” US News and World Report, https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/medical-assistant
- “Medical Assistants: Pay,” The Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-5