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Medical Assistant Jobs & Careers

 

Medical Assistant Jobs, Ophthalmic Medical Assistant and Podiatric Medical Assistant Jobs, Medical Jobs
 

This section is excerpted from chapter ten of Health Care Job Explosion! and features medical assistant job opportunities. An interview with a medical assistant and an overview of the medical assistance health care profession is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. Occupational groups are divided into primary and related occupations so that individuals can investigate other fields for additional job opportunities.

 

Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career exploration and job vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each occupation and a sample of related resources is included with the medical assistant occupational description.

 

MEDICAL ASSISTANT

 

Related Occupations

 

  • Dental Assistants
  • Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
  • Medical Secretaries
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides
  • Pharmacy Aides
  •  Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Significant Points

  • About 6 out of 10 medical assistants work in offices of physicians.
  • Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1- or 2-year programs in vocational-technical high schools, post-secondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges.
  • Medical assistant positions are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2004-14 period.
  • Job prospects may be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, particularly those with certification.
Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

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Significant Points

 

  • About 6 out of 10 medical assistants work in offices of physicians
  •  Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1- or 2-year programs in vocational-technical high schools, post-secondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges.
  •  Medical assistant positions are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2004-14 period.
  •  Job prospects may be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, particularly those with certification.
Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Nature of Work


Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. They should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician. (Physician assistants are discussed in Chapter 10.)


The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner’s specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually are generalists, handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area, under the supervision of department administrators.


Medical assistants perform many administrative duties, including answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handling billing and bookkeeping.


Clinical duties vary according to state law and include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.
Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean.


Ophthalmic medical assistants and podiatric medical assistants are examples of specialized assistants who have additional duties. Ophthalmic medical assistants help ophthalmologists provide eye care. They conduct diagnostic tests, measure and record vision, and test eye muscle function. They also show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses, and they apply eye dressings. Under the direction of the physician, ophthalmic medical assistants may administer eye medications. They also maintain optical and surgical instruments and may assist the ophthalmologist in surgery. Podiatric medical assistants make castings of feet, expose and develop x-rays, and assist podiatrists in surgery.

 

Working Conditions

 

Medical assistants work in well-lighted, clean environments. They constantly interact with other people and may have to handle several responsibilities at once.

 

Most full-time medical assistants work a regular 40-hour week. Many work part time, evenings, or weekends.

 

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

 

Online Health Care Degree & Certificate Programs


Most employers prefer graduates of formal programs in medical assisting. Such programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, post-secondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Courses cover anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as typing, transcription, recordkeeping, accounting, and insurance processing. Students learn laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, the administration of medications, and first aid. They study office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics. Accredited programs include an internship that provides practical experience in physicians’ offices, hospitals, or other health care facilities.

 

Both the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) accredit programs in medical assisting. In 2005, there were over 500 medical assisting programs accredited by CAAHEP and about 170 accredited by ABHES. The Committee on Accreditation for Ophthalmic Medical Personnel approved 17 programs in ophthalmic medical assisting and 2 programs in ophthalmic clinical assisting.

 

Formal training in medical assisting, while generally preferred, is not always required. Some medical assistants are trained on the job, al-though this practice is less common than in the past. Applicants usually need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Recommended high school courses include mathematics, health, biology, typing, book-keeping, computers, and office skills. Volunteer experience in the health care field also is helpful.

 

Although medical assistants are not licensed, some states require them to take a test or a course before they can perform certain tasks, such as taking x rays or giving injections.

 

Employers prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants who have passed a national examination, indicating that the medical assistant meets certain standards of competence. The American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant credential; American Medical Technologists awards the Registered Medical Assistant credential; the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants awards the Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified credential; and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology awards credentials at three levels: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant; Certified Ophthalmic Technician; and Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist.

 

Medical assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat and well groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner. Medical assistants must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians’ instructions. They must respect the confidential nature of medical information. Clinical duties require a reasonable level of manual dexterity and visual acuity.

 

Medical assistants may be able to advance to office manager. They may qualify for a variety of administrative support occupations or may teach medical assisting. With additional education, some enter other health occupations, such as nursing and medical technology.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Employment

 

Medical assistants held about 387,000 jobs in 2004. About 6 out of 10 worked in offices of physicians; about 14 percent worked in public and private hospitals, including inpatient and outpatient facilities; and 11 percent worked in offices of other health practitioners, such as chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists. The rest worked mostly in out-patient care centers, public and private educational services, other ambulatory health care services, state and local government agencies, employment services, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and nursing care facilities.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Job Outlook

 

Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through the year 2014 as the health care industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population. Increasing utilization of medical assistants in the rapidly growing health care industry will further stimulate job growth. In fact, medical assistants are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2004–14 period.


Employment growth will be driven by the increase in the number of group practices, clinics, and other health care facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly the flexible medical assistant who can handle both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work primarily in outpatient settings, a rapidly growing sector of the health care industry.

 

In view of the preference of many health care employers for trained personnel, job prospects may be best for medical assistants with for-mal training or experience, particularly for those with certification.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Earnings

 

The earnings of medical assistants vary, depending on their experience, skill level, and location. Median annual earnings of medical assistants were $24,610 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $20,650 and $28,930. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $34,650. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical assistants in May 2004 were: Colleges, universities, and professional schools,$27,490; Outpatient care centers, $25,360; General medical and surgical hospitals, $25,160; Offices of physicians, $24,930, Offices of other health practitioners, $21,930.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

 



Resources (Partial List)

 

Additional resources are presented in the paperback version of Health Care Job Explosion! 4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for this occupational group. Resources include Job Ads, Job Hotlines, Job Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and Internet (Web) Sites. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).


The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1575, Chicago, IL 60606-2963; 312/899-1500. (http://www.aama-ntl.org) The AAMA offers a national examination leading to the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential. Web site has a quiz and information on the field, links to the two ac-crediting agencies of educational programs for their lists of schools, and information on studying for and taking the certification exam. They also have a mentoring program for members.

 

American Medical Technologists (AMT) - 710 Higgins Road, Park Ridge, IL 60068; 800/275-1268. (http://www.amt1.com) The AMT administers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification exam as well as exams for Medical Technologist, Medical Laboratory Technician, Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), Certified Office Laboratory Technician (COLT), Allied Health Instructor (AHI) and Certified Laboratory Consultant (CLC). Student membership $5. Link to job and scholarship information.

 

Medical Technicians - Ferguson Publishing Company, 1998, $13.95, ISBN: 0894342460 Careers covered include biomedical equipment technicians, dialysis technicians, medical assistants, psychiatric technicians and surgical technologists.

 

 



Other Occupations

 

The following occupations are featured in the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. Each of the following occupations are featured exactly like the Home Care Occupations occupational description and includes resources for each listing. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus $5.75 shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only). Also available at bookstores nationwide.

Medical Assistant Jobs, Ophthalmic Medical Assistant and Podiatric Medical Assistant Jobs, Medical Jobs