What is your next step in getting ready for a career?
What should I do after high school? This is a common question for students in their junior and senior year of high school. Lots of people—from your teachers and guidance counselors to your parents and friends—are asking you, “what are you doing next year?” There may be a lot of pressure to apply to colleges, but for some students, college may not be the best path.
Thinking about life after high school can be exciting, but understandably, it can also cause stress. If you don’t think college is for you, what are the alternatives? What careers can you do without a college degree? One great resource for getting your future in order is Education Planner. This resource offers career interest surveys, information about college alternatives, and financial aid information.
Of the many options to choose from, one college alternative is career-focused training school. Career-focused training schools offer short-term training programs that prepare you for the workforce more quickly than traditional colleges. This article looks at a career path that can be trained for in just one year of training: The Professional Medical Assistant. To find out if you might like to become a medical assistant, ask yourself these career interest questions:
- Would I like to work in the field of healthcare/allied health?
- Can I picture myself working in a doctor’s office?
- Would I like a job where I get to work with patients?
- Am I detail-oriented and organized?
- Would I like knowing that my job is helping others?
If you answer yes to these questions, it might be worth exploring the medical assistant schools in your area. Most medical assistant schools offer programs that can be completed in just one year’s time at a fraction of the time and cost of college.
What is a Medical Assistant?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, medical assistants are healthcare professionals who are responsible for both clinical and administrative duties in doctors’ offices. Their duties cover a range of areas and might include:
- Measuring a patient’s height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse (vital signs)
- Taking a patient’s health history
- Assisting a doctor with small office procedures
- Sending specimens out to a medical lab for processing
- Administering EKGs
- Entering information into a patient’s electronic health record (EHR)
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Calling insurance companies about medical billing and coding issues
Medical assistants are in a unique role, because they get to work alongside physicians without needing the full medical training that doctors and nurses need. Their purpose is to help handle some of the less complex patient needs, in turn freeing up the doctor’s time for the high-level medical needs. This makes the office run more efficiently and ultimately gives the patients a better experience in the healthcare system.
How to Become a Professional Medical Assistant
Unlike college, you don’t need to take the SAT to get into most medical assistant schools. Most training programs require that you have your high school diploma (or equivalent). From there, you will be asked to fill out an application form and meet with an admissions representative to talk about the program and see if it is right for you.
Once your classes begin, you will be taking a variety of courses that prepare you for the world of medical assisting. Some of your courses would include:
- Understanding medical terminology
- Basics of human anatomy and physiology
- Clinical skills including First Aid, EKG, blood drawing, injections, vital signs, and infection prevention
- Medical office administration
- Electronic health records
- Medical billing and coding
If the medical courses sound too hard, don’t get scared off! You do not need any previous experience to enroll. The instructors know that you are a beginner. The instructors take each new topic from the very beginning and give you time to get comfortable with the new material.
What are the benefits of becoming a medical assistant?
Any job field has its pros and cons. Medical assisting might be a good choice for you if you like these benefits:
- It’s a professional field that doesn’t require college. Many jobs that you can get without a college degree are not necessarily professional jobs. They might be retail positions or food service positions which may not let you reach your potential. With medical assisting, the jobs are in a professional medical atmosphere where you work alongside accomplished medical professionals. It’s definitely a job you can feel proud of!
- Getting trained costs less than college. Let’s face it, education is not free. Many people struggle to pay for college or end up in deep debt after college. Training to become a medical assistant still costs money—and you will still want to seek financial aid—but because the training is shorter, your overall expenditure is less than a four-year college. If affording college is out of the picture for you, a career-training program could be a good fit.
- It’s a job that makes a difference. Working in the field of healthcare is a job that truly makes a difference in the world. Medical assistants may not be the high-profile surgeons performing life-saving operations, but they are contributing a great deal to serving patients with the healthcare services they need to get healthy and stay healthy. Compare it with many other job options out there, and you will see that medical assisting can be very gratifying work for this reason.
- The job outlook for the future is positive. While there is no crystal ball to tell us the future, there are economic forecasters who help predict the types of jobs that will be strong in the future. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “the employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.” For many people, choosing a career field with this kind of growth projection simply makes good sense.
We hope this article has helped you figure out how to choose a career after high school. If the benefits of medical assisting make sense to you, you might want to explore this career option further. Try these great articles and resources:
5 Things to Know about Becoming a Medical Assistant
Department of Labor’s Medical Assistant Profile
Traits You Need To Be a Great Medical Assistant
American Association of Medical Assistants
If you are looking for professional medical assistant schools in Maine or New Hampshire, then look no farther than Seacoast Career Schools. Seacoast Career Schools offers a medical assistant training program at its campuses in Sanford, ME and Manchester, NH. The great news is that we accept applications year-round. Typically, new classes start up every few months. This avoids the stress of a college application deadline. In other words, you can apply any time of year!
We hope this article has helped you get closer to choosing a career after high school. To find out more, fill out our online information form, and a representative will contact you shortly. Or if you are the phone type, don’t hesitate to call us! All it takes is a few minutes of your time to find out more. Reach us at 800-758-7679. This could be your first step toward your future career!