Professional Medical Assistant Career Description | Career Training | Seacoast Career School
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Career Description: Professional Medical Assistant

Types of Jobs for Medical Assistants

Clerical Medical Assistants

The job of the clerical medical assistant is to keep the doctors’ offices running in an efficient and professional manner. As a clerical medical assistant, you might be responsible for setting appointments, handling phone calls, managing the front desk duties, processing the mail, and assisting doctors with their paperwork and electronic records.

Administrative Medical Assistants

The job of the administrative medical assistant is similar to the clerical medical assistant. In addition to the clerical tasks, the administrative medical assistant also attends to the patients’ medical needs. This could include keeping patient files up-to-date, processing claim forms, coordinating hospital admissions, or arranging for medical tests. Bookkeeping and billing may also be part of this job.

Clinical Medical Assistants

Clinical medical assistants have more clinical responsibilities than administrative assistants. As a clinical medical assistant, you might review a patient’s medical history, conduct pre-examination tasks before the doctor sees the patient, and provide support and assistance to the physician during the exam. You might also talk with patients about upcoming procedures, offer reassurance, and answer questions. Some clinical medical assistants are responsible for drawing a patient’s blood, processing lab specimens, calling in pharmacy refills, sterilizing equipment, removing sutures, and performing EKGs.

Specialized Medical Assistants

Specialized medical assistants are focused on a particular medical specialty, such as pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary, or endocrinology. In these fields, the medical assistant would have responsibilities that are specific to the particular medical discipline.

The Workplace

Many healthcare facilities have medical assistants on staff. Some examples of workplaces for medical assistants include:

  • Hospitals (general or specialty)
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Private doctors' offices
  • Nursing homes
  • University hospitals
  • Other healthcare facilities

Topics of Study

The Professional Medical Assistant program at Seacoast covers all the subject areas you need in order to begin your new career. Some of the areas you will study include:

  • Medical terms and medical language
  • The human body and its physiology
  • Best practices in patient care
  • Procedures and practices in the medical office
  • Basic pharmacology

Outlook on Jobs

To get a better understanding on the job outlook for medical assistants, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The handbook predicts that employment of medical assistants is expected to increase by 23 percent between the years 2014 and 2024. This rate of growth is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The handbook says, “An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly medical assistants, to do both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry.”

As the medical field continues to make advances in technology and pharmacology, people are living longer. At the same time, the baby-boom population is aging and requiring more health-related services. As a result, the medical industry is growing to meet the health needs of more and more patients. These developments contribute to a higher demand for healthcare workers.

Over the next decade, the employment outlook for all medical assistants is predicted to be excellent. Medical assistants with formal education, experience, and certification will most likely have the best career opportunities.

Salary Trends for Professional Medical Assistants

There are a number of factors that affect salaries, such as the employee’s experience level, skill level, and location. Earning a certification is one way to help improve your job opportunities and job security. In general, entry-level positions will start out at a lower pay scale, but as you spend more time on the job and perform your job duties well, your salary is likely to increase. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook provides more details on the salary trends of medical assistants.

Salary Breakdown by Industry: There are positions for medical assistants in many healthcare industries, and salaries can vary across these industries. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the average salaries for medical assistants for the following industries:

  • Doctors’ offices, hospitals, and medical clinics
  • Hospitals specializing in substance abuse and psychiatric care
  • Dental offices
  • Medical research and development services
  • Medical insurance industry

Salary Breakdown by State: The average earnings of medical assistants differ based on geographic location. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report that shows the differences in annual salaries of medical assistants by state.

Professional Medical Assistant Certification

Medical Assistants who have earned a certification from a nationally-recognized certifying organization generally have better job opportunities and better job security. Taking a certification exam is not a requirement, but a certification is an excellent way to show a prospective employer that you are serious about your work.

At Seacoast, we encourage our graduates to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam offered by the American Medical Technologists.

Depending on your campus and your interests, there may be other certification exams you wish to take as well. Starting your new career with a certification that is recognized across the nation gives you a great advantage.

Still Not Sure?

If you aren’t sure if the Professional Medical Assistant program is right for you, take a moment to consider another program at Seacoast. Our selection of career-focused programs offers something for everyone.