Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant
Choosing the right career can be difficult. Health care careers are prevalent and offer a variety of choices. Examples of health care careers include those classified as medical support jobs. These jobs refer to those that provide support and assistance. Medical support jobs include medical assisting, physical therapy assisting and certified nursing assisting. Medical assistants (MA) have a rewarding health care career that provides them with the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and physical condition.
Medical assistants perform duties that involve more assessment techniques rather than direct patient care, which is a pro. Those interested in a career as a MA must possess the ability to develop a rapport with patients, pay attention to even the smallest detail and follow specific directions. A MA’s job duties include front desk and behind the desk tasks. Front desk duties involve greeting patients, gathering information and clerical work. Clerical duties require office skills and the ability to multi-task. Behind the desk duties involve patient assessment, readying patients for the doctor and providing treatment. Direct patient care refers to hands-on patient care including bathing, feeding, mobility assistance and incontinence care. Those with the desire to provide direct patient care should consider a career as a certified nursing assistant.
The opportunity to specialize in a specific area in the health-care field is a pro. Choosing a specialty lets MA expand their career, skills and knowledge. Employers look for MA who have specialized in specific areas to fulfill their hiring needs. It allows MAs to earn larger salaries. Specializations provide more job opportunities. Areas of specialization include pediatric, psychiatric, general medicine and education. Those who specialize in general medicine work with patients of all ages and conditions. Pediatric MA work with kids from newborns to adolescence. MA who specialize in psychiatry work with patients suffering from mental illness and distress.
A medical assistant salary may be considered one of the cons. Medical assistants earn on average earn between $31,000-$37,000 per year. Each employer will determine a MA’s salary upon hire. MA perform job duties similar to a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs provide patient care and assessment, perform clerical duties and assist doctors with treatments and procedures, much like a MA. However, there is a huge difference between the average salary earned by a MA and a LPN. An LPN’s average salary ranges from $41,000-$51,000 per year. This number is significantly higher despite the similarities in responsibilities and duties.
Training maybe considered another con. Training costs, time and effort needs to be considered when choosing the right career. Medical assistants, in order to earn the highest wages, must become certified and licensed to practice medicine as a MA. Certification and licensing requires the completion of an accredited medical assistant training program. Once completed, the individual must then challenge the state licensing exam. The exam must be passed in order for the state to issue a license. Licenses expire after a set amount of time determined by each state. MA are responsible for maintaining their license. This requires the participation and completion of continuing education classes.
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