Choosing Medical Assistant as a Career

Whether you are a young person deciding on which college to attend, or an experienced person looking for a career change, considering the opportunities in the general career area of medical assistant might be worth looking into.

The medical assistant title is is a basic title. Exact job titles under this general title normally include Clinical Laboratory Worker, Licensed Practical Nurse, Surgical Technician, and even Veterinary Assistant. There are a few other specific job titles, as well, but this gives the reader a good idea of the breadth of opportunities that come under this broad title.

Generally speaking, assistants work under the direction of an authorized medical doctor. People in this discipline function along with health-related employees and they can also watch over medical secretaries and clerks. In overall functions, the assistants help to keep the medical clinics working well by assisting the licensed doctors, and they run routine administrative and clinical tasks, and they can also carry out more specific tasks.

Overall, approximately 62% of assistants work in doctor’s offices. Approximately 12% work in hospitals, and another 11% work in other health-related offices. Some specific duties that a medical assistant perform include direct contact with patients, as well as other administrative tasks.

A person may perform such tasks as taking a patient’s pulse, checking blood pressure, and measuring height and weight of a patient. They may also do indirect patient tasks such as operating an EKG machine or other laboratory equipment, and handing equipment to doctors. They may also draw blood and administer injections.

Some of the administrative tasks can include talking to patients, booking laboratory procedures, and giving instruction to patients concerning medication or diet. They may also carry out transcriptions, inventory medication or medical materials, and set up examination areas for patients.

The working conditions are often similar to most doctor offices. They are generally very clean and well lighted. They often work around dangerous or hazardous material, and must work in environments where contamination and communicable diseases are present.

Assistants generally hold the same work hours as doctors and health professionals, and sometimes work odd shifts, and must be available for on-call and standby work. Travel is sometimes required such as delivering medicine to an elderly patient or between medical facilities.

Demand is currently high for this career field and is expected to remain high for at least the next eight years. The average starting salary in 2008 for medical assistants was approximately $28,000. Medical assistants can find both full time and part time work.

Medical assistants must have a high school degree and commonly enroll in a 2-year program through a local community college. Medical assistants do not require licensing, however some specific job titles have licensed standards.

Choosing medical assistants as a career, one can expect to find employment with a reasonable amount of schooling, and a wide-range of specific opportunities.

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