How to become a medical assistant
Are you looking for a career in health care? Are you interested in working with patients, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals? Medical assistants are high in demand, finding employment across the United States in a variety of settings. Medical assistants are hired to work in medical offices, hospitals, urgent care centers, insurance companies and more. Students interested in a medical assisting career can be trained and ready for work in less than two years on average.
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What is a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants are trained health care providers who work closely with patients, nurses and doctors providing assistance with medical care, procedures, patient education and other duties associated with running a medical office. Medical assistants perform duties such as obtaining vital signs, taking a patient’s medical history, assisting with procedures, giving injections, managing equipment and medical supplies. They also perform administrative tasks such as maintaining patient charts, medical billing, managing medical records and filing insurance claims.
Choosing a Medical Assisting Career
Individuals who have an eye for detail, are able to follow both written and verbal directions, possess good communication skills and the ability to learn technical skills, such as giving injections and assisting with medical procedures, should consider a career in medical assisting. There are different types of medical assistants including both administrative and clinical medical assistants. Clinical medical assistants typically work directly with patients and health care providers assisting with more hands-on care where administrative medical assistants provide assistance running the practice by handling and completing paperwork, performing medical billing and coding, obtaining insurance approvals, and other general operations of the medical office.
Medical Assistant Education Requirements
Although there are no formal education requirements for medical assistants in many states, most employers prefer to hire those who have successfully completed a medical assisting training program. Medical assisting courses and training is offered as a certificate or diploma program and as an associate degree. These training programs are offered through most community colleges, technical schools, vocational training centers and universities. Training programs vary from one to two years on average. High school students interested in pursuing a career in medical assisting should take biology, anatomy and chemistry classes in high school to help prepare for their medical education and career. Medical assisting training programs include both classroom and laboratory portions which provide the student with both the knowledge and skills required to be a successful medical assistant.
How to Become a Medical Assistant
One way a person interested in a medical assisting career can train to become a medical assistant is by successfully completing a medical assisting training program. The second way someone can become a medical assistant is through on-the-job training offered by the employer. On-the-job training and internships are difficult to find as most employers prefer to hire those who have successfully completed a medical assisting training program. Students who successfully complete an accredited medical assisting training course are eligible for certification. Certification is not required for employment in the United States at this time however it is highly recommended as it shows employers that the medical assistant has the knowledge, training and skills needed to perform the job duties.