A federated health occupation, medical assistant, that performs administrative and clinical works to support physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and other health practitioners have a median salary of $33,668 per year on average.
Medical assistants perform routine clinical and administrative works under the supervision of a healthcare professional which includes filing medical records, scheduling appointments, arranging hospital admission, handling billings, administering medications and injections, etc. If they work under a dental hygienist, they keep the patients about diets and nutrition as recommended by the hygienist while in general, a medical assistant helps in drawing blood for test, take electrocardiograms, change dressings, perform X-ray tests and also communicate in between the patient and the physician or a healthcare professional who they work under.
What do Medical Assistants do?
Medical assistants cooperate with medical professionals to take responsibility for several clinical and administrative tasks.
In their professional practice, medical assistants-
- Keep records of patient personal information and details
- Measure vital signs like blood pressure, sugar level, etc.
- Give injection to patients as directed by physicians
- Help physicians in examination and surgery processes
- Prepare samples for laboratory tests
- Handle administration by receiving calls, managing appointments
How to become a Medical Assistant?
One does not need a bachelor degree or higher studies to become a medical assistant. Post-secondary education, or high school diploma and related training could help anyone to become a medical assistant.
However, one needs to take courses like biology, chemistry, and anatomy in their high school to get into the field of a medical assistant. Several medical programs are run by community colleges, universities, technical schools and vocational schools who provide education for a year long in order to help interested students become medical assistants.
These training and programs will lead to a certificate level or diploma. However, in most states in the USA, there are no requirements of having a formal education to become a medical assistant. But, it will require assistance to go through a program, take related exams and be able to perform simple tasks as required to be done.
A medical assistant should also have some qualities that include; analytical skills in order to understand the prescriptions and medical charts for diagnosis, detail oriented in order to rely on correct records, interpersonal skills in order to co-operate with the patients, as well as technical skills so as to use clinical instruments and perform measurements of vital body signs.
There are different types of medical assistants who work alongside a physical or a healthcare professional and they are:
- Administrative medical assistants; who carry out office work like keeping records, answering telephones, etc
- Clinical medical assistants; who perform laboratory tests, handle medical instruments and perform simple medical tasks like removing stitches, dressings etc.
- Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants; who help optometrists and ophthalmologists in guiding patients regarding their eye care by teaching them how to use contact lenses, and assists the professionals in surgery.
- Podiatric medical assistants; who work on making the casting of feet, taking X-rays, etc.
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Best Medical Assistant Certification and Schools
There are many health-related organizations that certify medical assistants. The first to do so was the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) in the USA in 1956 which requires interested candidates to take the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) exams.
Some of the best medical assistant schools that provide certification and accreditation are:
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – offers 33 credits in several clinical and general education courses
- Bryant & Stratton College – offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in medical assisting through a two years program that also includes the study of liberal arts
- Kaplan College – which provides diploma of medical assisting that can be completed in a year
- Globe University – which offers a 21 months program to earn an AAS in medical assisting
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Medical Assistant Salary
How much do medical assistants make? The median annual wage for medical assistants is $33,668 as of 2017. The lowest earning 10 percent medical assistants make less than $31,037 in average while the highest-earning 10 percent medical assistants average more than $36,356 per annum.
The salary for medical assistants could differ by country and location as well. In general, a medical assistant has a salary of $16 per hour with a range usually between $15-$17. The highest paying state in the USA is California where medical assistants make around $34,000 a year.