Becoming a medical assistant is a great idea, especially if you want to find a secure job that will always be there for you. The job market is suffering at the moment, and one of the few industries that are actually expanding is the medical industry. Getting your medical assistant training is a great way to get your foot in the door of this fast growing industry.
Who Is Medical Assistant Training For?
Many people want to get into the medical field but don’t have the time, resources, or will to spend the years it requires to study medicine. For these people medical assistant training may well be the answer. If you would like to do the following, then medical assistant training is definitely the path for you:
- Work with patients to allay their fears, put them at their ease, and keep them comfortable
- Be part of a skilled medical team
- Work with health professionals
- Perform medical duties in line with your position as a medical assistant
- Make a difference
If you are interested in the above, then I suggest that you seriously consider medical assistant training. The following are the most basic things that you are likely to cover in medical assistant training:
- Accounting and other administrative skills
- Patient relations and interpersonal skills
- Office protocol and procedures
- Legal and ethical issues related to the medical field
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- Keeping patient and other records up to date and in good order
- First aid skills
- Basic computer skills such as keyboarding
- Techniques used in laboratories
- Billing and coding (for insurance purposes)
- Terminology related to the medical field
- How to administer medication
It is very important for you to consider whether or not you have the necessary skills and patient to learn the above mentioned skills. Another important thing to consider is whether or not these subjects interest you. If you are not truly interested in what will be covered in course work, then you may want to consider an alternative career path.
Types Of Medical Assistants
When you engage in medical assistant training you need to keep in mind what you end goal is. Basically, you need to know what type of medical assistant you want to be. There are three man types of medical assistants:
Administrative Medical Assistants
When you do medical assistant training for becoming an medical administrative assistant you will be focusing more on the clerical side of things. Your tasks will include duties such as updating patient records and dealing with insurance claims. You will also be required to engage with the patients, and therefore you will need good interpersonal skills, something that will most likely be covered to a certain degree in your medical assistant training.
Clinical Medical Assistants
The tasks you will perform as a clinical medical assistant will vary according to the state in which you practice. It is therefore very important that you are aware of the state requirements that apply the area you want to work in, and that the medical assistant training that you receive covers all of the necessary skills you will need to perform your job adequately. Your tasks will still be basic, comparatively speaking, but you will have to have a certain degree of medical knowledge as at times you will have to prepare lab tests and sometimes even perform them, as well as checking vital signs of patients and taking medical histories, among other things.
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants
If you become an ophthalmic medical assistant you will basically be a specialist. Ophthalmic assistants receive specific medical assistant training that qualifies them to work in very specialized fields. You will have additional duties on top of those that other medical assistants have, and you will have to be trained to assist ophthalmologists in performing the various eye tests and exams that are necessary for assessing vision.
Responsibilities Of A Medical Assistant
Before deciding on any career path, you need to be aware of what exactly you will be doing once you are qualified. This applies to medical assistant training just as it does to everything else. What you will do depends on the type and size of institute or practice that you end up working for, but your basic role as a medical assistant will be to handle various administrative and clinical tasks that result in the smooth running of your place of work. If you work in a smaller office then your tasks are more likely to be very general. However, the larger the offices you work for, the more specialized your role as a medical assistant is likely to be.
The basic tasks of a medical assistant are:
- Collecting specimens from patients and processing them
- Educating the patients on how to keep healthy
- Do basic diagnostic exams
- Assist with medical exams
- Transcribe the patient’s medical information into the necessary charts
- Administer medications under appropriate supervision
- Maintain patients’ medical records and take patient histories
- Keep track of the scheduling, cancellation and monitoring of appointments in the practice
- Process insurance claims and keep track of insurance records
- Make sure that all accounts are paid and that all necessary payments are received
Working Conditions of a Medical Assistant:
- You will work in clean environments
- You will work in well-lighted environments
- You will be required to constantly interact with others
- You may have to handle many responsibilities at the same time
- You will work regular hours, about 40 hours a week
- You will have the opportunity to potentially work part time
With medical assistant training you will be able to work in a number of different situations, such as:
- Health clinics
- Insurance companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Medical supply houses
- Doctor’s offices
- Hospital outpatient clinics
Medical Assistant Training
There are a large number of schools and programs out there that offer medical assistant training. It is very important that the medical assistant school that you choose, should you go that route, is properly certified, otherwise you will be wasting your time and your money. There are a few ways in which medical assistant training can occur:
If you have a high school education, then you are likely to be eligible for on-the-job medical assistant training. Many people have successfully pursued this path, but it is important to remember that the job market is far more competitive these days. Employers look for people with qualifications, so while this is still an option, you may find that you will have more opportunities if you get a formal qualification.
There are a few options open to you when it comes to getting formal training:
Diplomas Or Certificates: Advantages
- You will only have to study for about one year to qualify as a medical assistant
- It is by far the cheaper option
Diplomas Or Certificates: Disadvantages
- You will not be eligible to continue on and get a degree if you only have a Diploma or Certificate.
Associate’s Degree: Advantages
- You will be held in higher esteem.
- You will be able to continue on and get a degree should you wish to go back to school.
Associate’s Degree: Disadvantages
- It is more expensive to do your medical assistant training in this way.
- It is also more time consuming, taking about two years.
Online Training: Advantages
- You will be able to study from anywhere.
- If your problem is time, and online qualification is much easier to fit into your schedule.
- Generally speaking, it takes far less time than other qualifications.
- It is the cheapest option.
Online Training: Disadvantages
- You will not b held in very high esteem with online medical assistant training.
- The school you use may not be certified.
- The quality of training may be very poor.
Becoming Certified As A Medical Assistant
Unlike other medical professions, you are not required to be certified as a medical assistant. However, it is in your best interest to become certified as this gives you more power in the job market. For certain tasks you will also be required to be certified, so if you are not certified you will be limiting your job opportunities. To become certified you will have to sit the CMA (certified medical assistant) examination which is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants, after which you will have to take continuous assessments every five years to keep your qualification current.
Future Career As A Certified Medical Assistant
There are several opportunities that will be open to you once you are certified. You will for example be able to advance to being a nurse, a medical technologist, or a medical laboratory technician, meaning that you really will able to broaden your horizons with medical assistant training. Jobs you may be able to get with medical assistant training are:
- Registered nurse
- Licensed vocational nurse
- Home health aide
- Licensed practical nurse
- Certified nursing assistant
With certification through medical assistant training you will not only be able to find a job in these difficult times, but you will be able to advance yourself sufficiently. The career opportunities are many and good. If you are looking for a new career, then medical assistant training may be the answer for you.