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Medical Assisting Occupational Outlook

What Medical Assistants Do

Medical assistants often take medical histories and record vital signs of patients.

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.

Duties

Medical assistants typically do the following:

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Help physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records

Medical assistants take and record patients’ personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing some medical assistants’ jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.

Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician’s supervision.

In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.

Administrative medical assistants often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. They often answer telephones and schedule patient appointments.

Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on the state where they work. They may do basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They may have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.

Some medical assistants specialize according to the type of medical office where they work. The following are examples of specialized medical assistants:

Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants help ophthalmologists and optometrists provide eye care. They show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. Ophthalmic medical assistants also may help an ophthalmologist in surgery.

Podiatric medical assistants work closely with podiatrists (foot doctors). They may make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and help podiatrists in surgery.

For the latest occupational outlook visit  Medical Assisting Occupational Outlook.

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?

According to US News and World Report Salary Report, Medical Assistants made a median salary of $34,800 in 2019. The best-paid 25 percent made $40,270 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $29,460.

Average Medical Assistant Pay vs. Other Best Jobs

According to a US News and World Salary Report

Medical Assistants earned an average salary of $35,720 in 2019. Comparable jobs earned the following average salary in 2019: Registered Nurses made $77,460, Medical Secretaries made $38,090, Nursing Aides made $30,720, and Personal Care Aides made $26,440.

Medical Assistant Career – Advice and Reviews

This article is shared from a recent US News and World Report on Best Jobs

What is a Medical Assistant?

MEDIAN SALARY
$34,800
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
1.9%
NUMBER OF JOBS
139,200

A medical assistant’s job is a mix of traditional office work, including manning the front desk, answering phones and filing insurance forms, as well as tasks, such as drawing blood and preparing it for lab tests, administering injections and making sure medical histories are accurately recorded. More specialized roles include assisting ophthalmologists or optometrists with basic vision tests and helping patients learn to insert, remove and care for contact lenses.

A routine visit to the doctor is really a visit with an entire team, including a growing number of medical assistants. Medical assistants are likely the first and last faces you’ll see during any medical appointment, either in your doctor’s office or at a larger medical organization.

The aging baby boomer population will help drive demand for more medical assistants, who will be needed to support doctors and nurses as they diagnose and treat patients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19.2 percent employment growth for medical assistants between 2019 and 2029. In that period, an estimated 139,200 jobs should open up.

Job Satisfaction

Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here’s how Medical Assistants job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.

Medical Assistant Career – Advice and Reviews

This article is shared from a recent US News and World Report on Best Jobs

What is a Medical Assistant?

MEDIAN SALARY
$34,800
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
1.9%
NUMBER OF JOBS
139,200

A medical assistant’s job is a mix of traditional office work, including manning the front desk, answering phones and filing insurance forms, as well as tasks, such as drawing blood and preparing it for lab tests, administering injections and making sure medical histories are accurately recorded. More specialized roles include assisting ophthalmologists or optometrists with basic vision tests and helping patients learn to insert, remove and care for contact lenses.

A routine visit to the doctor is really a visit with an entire team, including a growing number of medical assistants. Medical assistants are likely the first and last faces you’ll see during any medical appointment, either in your doctor’s office or at a larger medical organization.

The aging baby boomer population will help drive demand for more medical assistants, who will be needed to support doctors and nurses as they diagnose and treat patients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19.2 percent employment growth for medical assistants between 2019 and 2029. In that period, an estimated 139,200 jobs should open up.

Job Satisfaction

Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here’s how Medical Assistants job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?

According to US News and World Report Salary Report, Medical Assistants made a median salary of $34,800 in 2019. The best-paid 25 percent made $40,270 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $29,460.

Salary Range for Medical Assisting

According to the NHA, Medical Assistants earn a median salary of $32,480 .

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Professionalism, verbal communication, and critical thinking are the most important soft skills desired by employers of Medical Assistants

New Career In Medical Assisting

Do you want a career where you can really make a difference? Medical assistants are valued members of the modern healthcare team, helping to improve patient care and the lives of others. If you’ve ever considered working in healthcare, here are a few benefits.

1. You will Provide Important Patient Care

Your career as a medical assistant will be all about helping others. Medical assistants support  physicians in their practice as well as other healthcare professionals. Most importantly, they get to help patients! Medical assistants take patient histories, answer questions, show patients how to access their health insurance benefits, and often act as a liaison between the patient and other members of the healthcare team. Patients look to medical assistants to help them understand tests and procedures they are receiving and to ease their fears as they face them.

2. You will Interact with People from All Walks of Life

As a medical assistant, you will be meeting people from all walks of life. If you’re a “people-person”, this could be the career for you. In addition to interacting with physicians and medical staff, you’ll get to know patients and their family members. Not to mention the countless people who make their way in and out of healthcare facilities every day!

3. Your Career Is Rewarding

Whether you’re helping a patient access medical benefits, taking vital signs, or performing blood draws, lab procedures and EKGs, what you do really matters. You will be part of a rewarding profession where your patients will appreciate what you do. You’ll have lots of direct patient access and your skills, training and compassion can all make a difference in someone else’s life and in the lives of those they love.

4. Promising Job Growth

If you become a medical assistant, you can expect that through 2022 your job growth will be much faster than the national average (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The reason for this high demand is that there are more healthcare facilities and more patients using them.

Enroll today

Free up to 3 hours of doctors’ time daily with smart use of MAs

What would you do with three more hours each day? Trained medical assistants (MAs) integrated into your medical practice can free up to three hours of physicians’ time daily—if they take on the right tasks.

Medical assistants are under-utilized in most medical practices, according to Marie Brown, MD, director of practice redesign at the AMA. Dr. Brown is a professor emeritus at Rush University and a practicing physician in internal medicine. She presented tips on recruitment and retention of medical assistants during a recent session that is part of the AMA STEPS Forward™ webinar series that focuses on physician well-being, practice redesign, and implementing telehealth during COVID-19.

The series also provides various toolkits that off real-world solutions, success stories and downloadable resources that address common practice challenges.

Dr. Brown said many of the daily practice tasks that physicians perform do not require a physician’s level of expertise, such as record keeping, medication review, pending routine orders and identifying care gaps. These can be performed by another member of the medical team, such as a medical assistant.

Properly assigned medical assistants can free up to three hours a day from a physician’s schedule by taking some of the administrative and clinical tasks and allow a physician to focus more time on direct interaction with patients, she said.

However, making best use of medical assistants can pose some challenges. Staffing can be difficult, she noted. “There’s just not enough of them. The ideal staffing ratio may be two MAs to every one physician or clinician. But what I hear from around the country is there are not enough assistants to hire.”

Dr. Brown said in order to recruit and retain MAs, practice managers need to understand the various ways employees can become MAs, determine the best role for MAs in a certain practice, make a good business case for MAs in a practice, and then develop a plan to onboard and retain trained MAs.

While MAs generally do not need to be licensed or certified by law, their scope of work and state regulatory requirements vary from state to state and practice to practice. Types of certification include the certified medical assistant (CMA), registered medical assistant (RMA), and certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA).

Medical assistants can qualify in several ways to sit for a certifying exam.

  • Apprenticeship, usually lasting five years (High school graduate with on-the-job training, with the physician attesting to their role).
  • Formal MA training programs that take nine months to two years.
  • Military training.
  • Experience as an MA instructor.

MAs can be involved in pre-appointment agenda setting, documenting the chief complaint and history of present illness, reviewing medications and helping physicians in the exam room. Many MAs around the country—following protocols—help identify care gaps such as a need for a screening mammogram, routine blood tests such as hemoglobin A1c, and pend these orders.

It is important to match individual MA skills to tasks, because training and background varies so widely. Case studies indicate that practices using MAs saw time to provide care go down and patient and physician satisfaction go up—along with revenue, Dr. Brown said.

When you have recruited, trained and integrated an MA into your practice, it is important to develop a plan for continuous professional development and a career progression ladder with different titles, levels and skill sets, she added.

Return on investment increases as MAs progress along a defined career development and job title path, she said. Titles can be simple stages such as MA I, II and III or more descriptive, such as team care coordinator and lead MA.

Pursue your next career as a MA by enrolling today at Sumner College’s Medical Assisting program. Classes start soon.

Content shared from ama-assn.org

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