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Medical Assistant Schools
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5. Medical Assistant Employment

Medical assistants remain highly sought and readily hired by doctors, practitioners, multi-specialty physician
groups and hospitals everywhere, especially in urban and regional medical centers. They seek medical
assistants who can be seamlessly integrated within administrative and clinical areas of the facility, ensure
smooth, efficient functioning of the clinical and administrative areas, and maintain optimal levels of service to
the patients and healthcare providers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that education and
training enhances a job seeker's employability. Medical assistant job applicants are expected to be in good
physical health and able to remain on their feet for several hours without a break, posses good hand and eye
coordination and excellent near vision to see details at close range such as calibration markings on a syringe,
small print on medication labels and medication bottle inserts, skin changes and  blood vessels to draw blood.

Employers set their own compensation rates. Medical assistants almost always are paid in hourly wages and
their take home pay differs greatly. The doctor decides how much wage he or she is willing pay for a certain
position. As in any job wages depend greatly on the worker's education and experience, work place location,
medical office size, medical specialty, nature of work, prior work experience, skill level and performance
evaluations. It must be clearly understood that the medical assistant is NEVER a salaried professional, so
when you review statistics titled medical assistant salary figures, the word salary is a misnomer.

Advancement opportunities abound for those who have gained their job skills through direct on the job training
(without formal vocational training program education, diplomas, and degrees). Medical assistants who have
obtained their skills through direct on the job experience can further their knowledge and competency, and gain
an edge on the labor market through career focused workshops, seminars, continuing education courses
(CEU) and  medical specialty field certifications.

Disciplinary Action
Educational and performance standards and individual dispositions by employers, communities, or
organizations that go along with rules enforced by cities and states. Vocational training institutions and
organized membership associations such as AAMA and AMT have established their own standards for their
membership and student body, which are regarded as exemplary among medical assistants. They represent
their expectations and ideas of what a medical assistant should know and be able to do. A highly educated staff
member is regarded as a source of competence in today's highly advanced work force (Kravis, Lipsey 1992).

1. Medical Assistant Training

There must be some form of training to learn the skills, develop attitudes and solidify values that shape how
you interact with patients. Formal and informal training avenues are offered, either directly on the job, or via
community and junior colleges, private vocational training institutions, or military training. These vocational
training programs consist of theoretic and practical instruction and end with a practicum at an approved
externship site for medical assistant students. Such programs cover a wide range of clinical and administrative
skills as it applies to an ambulatory medical office setting. Upon graduation many aspiring medical assistants
elect to sit for a  recognized certification exam of their choice.

2. What Medical Assistants Do

The medical assistant is a fully integrated, non-licensed member of the medical office team with duties that are
distinct from the practice of medicine and nursing. They work side-by-side with doctors, clinicians and other
allied health professionals in various supporting positions essential to the medical office's function where they
handle daily office routines ranging from clinical, to administrative and managerial responsibilities. The medical
assistant is mobile, flexible and hired into many different positions. An increasing number of doctors are
replacing their Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) with skilled medical assistants. They have discovered that a
well trained medical assistant is sufficiently qualified to meet their needs. While undoubtedly, nursing staff is
always a great asset to a medical office, there are now at least 1-2 medical assistants for each doctor on the
medical office team, one in the front office reception and administrative area and another one in the back office
assisting the doctor and patients. The nature of this job requires direct supervision by the doctor who hired
them and physical contact and verbal and non-verbal interaction with patients, and the general public.

3. Where Medical Assistants Work

Medical assistants are employed in a wide range of
disciplines and held about 527,600 jobs within the health care
system in 2010. The projected employment rate for 2020 is
690,400 working medical assistants in ambulatory medical
practices, preventive care clinics, therapy and rehabilitation
centers, vision care and optical stores, laboratories,
pharmacies, alternative medical service centers, veterinary
and dentist's offices, college campuses, mental health and
corrections institutions and various other types of private and
public facilities where ambulatory medical and health care
services are provided.
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Medical Assistant NET Terms of Use:
The information contained herein is intended for people with an interest in becoming a medical assistant and those already
working in this field. It is believed to be factual and accurate at the time it was published, however is not intended to be
legal, financial or professional advice, nor any other type of advice whatsoever for any reason and should not be relied on in
that manner. See our full Terms of Use here. We recommend that those who utilize this website will do their own research to
familiarize themselves with educational requirements, employer's expectations and typical pay rates in your area. Smart
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If your goal is a career in the healthcare industry then medical assisting is for you. Comprehensive training is readily available. Depending on the school, you may become a fully qualified medical assistant in less than one year. With further education and training many use this experience as a springboard to later pursue a nursing degree or enter into another related medical or technical field to further their career and build a rewarding future.

4. Medical Assistant Qualifications

Employers depend on proficiency within the limits of the medical assistant's scope of practice and basic
decision-making skills. Expected is a high school diploma and usually a medical assistant diploma from an
accredited program, and CPR/BLS certification. Dependability, strong organizational and leadership skills are
very important. Doctors want their medical assistants to be able to use computers, equipment and devices
typically found in their practice to be proficient in patient scheduling, word processing, data entry and retrieval of
demographic and insurance information along with providing excellent patient customer service. The ultimate
goal is to have someone who can work hand in hand with them in their specialty and help them turn their
medical office into a successful operation.

If would like to work in the specialty area of dermatology it may be expected that you:

  • understand the anatomy and pathology of the integumentary system
  • are familiar with routine diagnostic tests and treatments for skin disorders
  • are able to assist the doctor during routine and special examinations of the skin
  • are able to explain the diagnosis and plan of care in simple terms to the patients
  • can correctly apply prescribed treatments, such as ointments, bandages and dressings as instructed
  • are familiar with common medical billing codes, eg. ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM, CPT®