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Medical Assistant- the Fastest Growing Career
Medical assistants (MA) – one of the integral individuals working in physician’s offices and outpatient’s clinics. They support a range of activities from administrative duties to patient care to laboratory sample processing. MA is one of the nation’s fastest growing careers, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics ascribing growth to the following sectors
- Technological advancements
- Physicians’ offices and outpatient care facilities
- Elderly Americans who need medical treatment.
Different types of career as a medical assistant
Clinical medical assistant
As a clinical assistant you review the patient’s medical history, conduct pre-examination tasks before the doctor check the patient and provide assistance and support to the physician during the physical examination. Also, you have to talk to the patients about any updates and procedures, answer questions and offer reassurance. Some clinical MAs are responsible for calling pharmacy refills, performing EKGs, sterilizing equipment, drawing patient’s blood or processing lab specimens.
Administrative medical assistant
Administrative tasks is similar to clerical tasks especially when it comes to attending the patient’s medical needs. Their core responsibilities involves coordinating hospital admissions, arranging medical tests, keeping files up-to-date and processing claim files. In addition, billing and book-keeping is also an important part of their job.
Specialized medical assistant
Specialized medical assistance need to focus on particular medical specialty including endocrinology, pediatrics, pulmonary or cardiology.
The training program
Many MAs are trained on the job and some of them have to undergo a complete 1-2 year program. The programs usually start for 1 year and result in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years and result in an associate degree. The courses cover physiology, anatomy, typing, accounting, insurance processing, transcription, recordkeeping and other medical terminology. The trainees also learn laboratory techniques, diagnostic and clinical procedures, administration of medication, first aid and pharmaceutical principles. Some states allow MAs to perform more advanced procedures including giving injection or passing a test. In addition, as medical assistants have to deal with the public, therefore, they are well-groomed and trained to put patients at ease and explain the physician’s instruction. They are also taught to respect the confidential nature of medical information
Employers prefer to hire experienced workers or those who are certified. Although gaining a certification is not mandatory, certification indicates that a medical assistant meets certain standards of competence.
Trend of Medical Assistant employment
About 62 percent of MA work in physician’s office, 12 percent work in public and private hospitals (including outpatient and inpatient facilities) and 11 percent work in offices of health professionals and practitioners such as podiatrists, chiropractors or optometrists. According to different research and study, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow by 35 percent from 2006 to 2016. With the expansion of the healthcare industries, technological advancement in medicines and with the growth and aging of the population, there will be an increased need for health care assistants. And the increasing use of MAs in the rapidly growing healthcare sector will further encourage job growth. The employment growth will be driven by the increase in the number of clinics, group practices and other healthcare facilities that require high proportion of support personnel particularly medical assistant who can manage both clericals and administrative duties.
Job seekers who want to work as MA are bound to get excellent job prospects and those with formal training and experience, particularly with certification should have the best job opportunities. Several professional organizations promote the interests of their members and also provide a network of contacts that can help them find jobs and move their career ahead. These organizations also offer variety of services including insurance, job referral services, travel benefits, meeting and conference opportunities, continuing education courses or periodicals. The earnings of medical assistants vary depending on skill level and geographical area
In a nutshell, Medical Assistant career is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupation.