Career Options for Medical Assistants
Medical Assistants are in demand
If you are looking for a rewarding career where you can truly make a difference in people’s lives, a medical assistant (MA) certification may be worth considering. Demand for healthcare professionals has skyrocketed due to increased utilization of healthcare services, an aging population and the recent pandemic, and the trend is predicted to continue as baby boomers age into retirement. Medical assistants experience job security and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an above-average annual salary of around $35,000 nationally. You can receive your complete training in nine months, and the only educational requirement is a high school diploma or GED.
Medical assistants play an important role in a broad range of clinical settings. Typically, the first member of the medical team who sees the patient is the MA, who will note the patient’s complaint and reason for visit, review medication history and take vitals signs. Preparing the patient makes the most efficient use of the doctor or other provider’s time in evaluating the patient and devising a treatment plan. And given the hurried pace of most outpatient settings, a skilled MA is truly a valuable asset. AIAM offers a Medical Assisting program that will equip you with the skills and training you need for a rewarding career as an MA. Our holistic approach to patient care will provide you with a well-rounded education and the tools you need to succeed.
Here are some of the areas where MAs can find employment:
- Primary care office. Primary care (family practice and internal medicine) physicians are the front-line providers who often refer patients to other specialists. Medical Assistants in these settings will prepare the patient to be seen by the doctor or nurse by taking the patient’s weight and vital signs, reviewing their medication list, asking any screening questions and determining the reason for the patient’s visit. In some settings, MAs also draw blood, prepare specimens for transport to a reference lab or run simple in-house lab tests. If you thrive on a fast-paced work environment, primary care service would be a great fit!
- Retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities. As the population ages, more people will be moving to retirement communities, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. MAs in these settings will operate under a physician’s or nurse’s orders. Their duties will include dispensing medications, monitoring residents’ vital signs, managing chronic health conditions, wound dressing/changing and rendering first aid duties. If you enjoy interacting with elderly people and working independently, consider working in one of these settings.
- Outpatient clinics. In an outpatient clinic, Medical Assistants often do more than work with patients. They may also do double-duty as checking patients in for their appointments and verifying insurance eligibility. In an outpatient clinic, medical assistants may assist the doctor with suturing and casting, removing stitches and dressing and cleaning wounds. In smaller clinics, MAs may also take and process x-rays and run routine lab tests. If you like to wear many hats on the job, then consider working in an outpatient clinic.
- Orthopedic practices. Orthopedic surgeons treat injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. During these office visits, the MA will note the patient’s vitals, review medications and note the reason for the visit; many times, the appointments are post-op. An additional duty of MAs in orthopedic offices is charting for the doctor, as during the visit, the doctor will be hands-on with the patient; assessing mobility, gait, flexibility, etc. MAs may also be tasked with assisting with splinting and casting and injections. If you are the type who likes to gain a depth of knowledge and experience in one specialty area, then an orthopedic practice would be a good fit.
- Podiatry practices. Our feet take a daily beating and over the years, patients can develop serious problems with their feet. Couple this with an aging population and it’s no wonder that the specialty of podiatry is booming. A MA for a podiatrist will perform many of the same duties as a MA in a primary care practice, such as taking the patient’s history and vitals, but they will also help with trimming patients’ toenails, applying topical medications, and molding and fitting orthotics. If the podiatrist performs in-office surgery, the MA may assist. MAs may also take and process x-rays for the providers. Podiatry is a specialty that is constantly growing and changing as new procedures and treatments are introduced, so if you like being involved in ground-breaking developments, choose this specialty.
Learn more about Medical Assistant careers
These are just a few of the medical assistant career opportunities, but they are the five most common settings. If you would like to further explore a career as a MA, visit the AIAM.edu for more information on our Medical Assisting Program. Our program offers an overview of holistic and complementary approaches that sets it apart from other medical assisting programs. We are fully accredited and have financial aid packages. If you are ready to take that first step into a challenging career in the medical professional, apply to join the Medical Assisting program!