Pursuing a medical assistant career can open many doors for you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for certified medical assistants will increase by 16% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all jobs.
One of the great things about training to become a medical assistant is that you end up with many job options. You can work directly with patients or on the administrative side of things, if that’s your preference. You may also decide to specialize in a particular field of medicine.
Learn more about the jobs available to certified medical assistants.
Administrative Medical Assistant
At some larger health care facilities, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical duties. An administrative medical assistant helps to keep a provider’s office or a hospital organized.
Their responsiblities include scheduling patients, answering phones and completing insurance paperwork. They may also perform medical billing and coding.
An administrative medical assistant interacts with patients but may not perform any clinical duties.
Clinical Medical Assistant
The responsibliities of a clinical medical assistant focus on patient care. They may take patients’ vital signs and perform basic lab tests, under the supervision of a nurse or doctor. A clinical medical assistant may also sterilize equipment, draw blood and remove stitches.
Heart disease is one of the most common diseases in U.S. adults, affecting about 20 million people. As a certified EKG technician, you would be responsible for performing electrocardiograms (EKGs) on patients. An EKG uses electrodes to monitor the heart’s performance while someone is resting or moving.
EKG training is included in the certification training for medical assisting. You may also wish to pursue additional credentialing from Cardiovascular Credentialing International specifically for EKG.
If you don’t have a fear of needles and are adept at comforting patients during times of stress, a job as a phlebotomist may be right for you. Phlebotomists specialize in drawing blood for lab work, donations or research.
The role requires interpersonal skills and clinical skills. You need to know how to get the blood from a patient and collect it in the tube. You also may need to spend some time calming patients down or reassuring them, especially if they have a fear of needles.
As a phlebotomist, you’ll also be responsible for confirming that the details on the bloodwork match the patient’s information and that each vial is appropriately labeled.
A medical assisting certificate program will include phlebotomist training. Even if you don’t decide to work as a phlebotomist, a role as a clinical medical assistant may require you to draw blood occassionally.
Surgical technicians and assistants are special types of medical assistants. They work in operating rooms. Their responsibilities may include preparing the operating room for a surgery by stocking supplies and sterilizing equipment. They may also assist during surgical procedures, handing tools to the surgeon or helping to prepare patients for their surgeries.
If you know that a career as a surgical technician appeals to you, you may consider earning a surgical tech certificate, rather than a general medical assisting certification. A surgical tech certificate program will prepare you for the specific duties of an OR. You’ll learn how to sterilize equipment, scrub hands and prepare patients.
Specialized Medical Assistant
Just as physicians and nurses can specialize in a particular field, medical assistants can specialize, too. EKG technicians are just one example of specialized medical assistants. If there’s a particular area of medicine that interests you, such as ophthalmology or podiatry, you may find work as an medical assistant with specialist provider.
Depending on the type of medicine you’re most interested in, you may pursue additional credentialing or qualifications after earning your medical assistant certificate to prepare you for your area of specialization. Another option is to learn specialized skills, such as assisting ophthalmologist surgeons or assisting OB/GYNs.
Orange Technical College’s medical assisting career certificate program can help prepare you for one of the many job options for medical assistants. If you’re ready to start your career in health care, contact us today to learn more about how to enroll.