Becoming a podiatric medical assistant is a specialization in which the assistant helps the podiatrist with the day to day running of their business. Sometimes, this includes doing administrative work, while at other times it may include helping during consultations. These assistants are both valuable and necessary for podiatrists, which is why so much time is put into their training.
A podiatrist is charged with managing the foot health of their clients and this means taking care of all types of ailment of the feet. An assistant in this field needs to assist the podiatrist by making it easier for them to do their job. In essence, they will need to be a second pair of hands for the podiatrist to do things such as bandage wounds, assist in cutting off hangnails and many more forms of treatment. They will also take part in administrative duties such as stock take and filing, and sometimes will have to fill the gap of other staff.
If you are considering pursuing this field, know that the money will be sufficient to pay your rent and food, but you won’t become a millionaire by assisting a podiatrist. This is why so many assistants study while they work and often become podiatrists themselves. However, the work does have its rewards and those who wish to pursue will find those out as they go.
A medical assistant in this field may be employed to work anywhere from a hospital to a private practice. Some of them may have to work for doctors in labs, analyzing data and providing the podiatrist with information for them to make their assessments and treat patients. Some assistants will be employed to work in home health care facilities where they can help those who cannot go out to the podiatrist.
In many cases, a podiatric medical assistant may work for a group of doctors at a healthcare facility and may need to do more duties than simply podiatry. This is very different to working in a podiatrist’s rooms, where the assistant would only need to do administrative and other duties for a podiatrist.
A medical assistant who wishes to work just in podiatry may have to complete certain courses to ensure that they can perform the duties as prescribed by the podiatrist.
Becoming A Podiatric Medical Assistant
Because work in this field is specialized, assistants need to complete a training program at an accredited college or university. They will be taught the skills they need to do their jobs from the first day, and can choose to complete their qualifications in the flesh or online.
No matter what college you choose to attend, you need to ensure that they offer the training that you are looking for and that they are a reputable institution. It makes sense in this regard to check online forums for those who have already studied, and whose colleges helped them prepare for their chosen career path.
When choosing a college be sure to check the following:
- How much experience do they have in this field? It is vital that you know what skills they can offer you, so that you can make a better choice of college, and be sure you have chosen the right field of study.
- Check the fees. It is no good deciding to pursue your studies if you cannot pay for them. Anyone looking for a college where they can study to achieve a diploma in medical assistance needs to check whether they will accept financial aid, and this means ensuring that they do the applications on your behalf.
- Ask about job possibilities. One of the best parts of training at a reputable institution is knowing that afterwards, they can refer you to a place that will give you a job. If they do not offer any type of job placement system, this will significantly lower your chances of getting a good job when you graduate.
There are many schools that currently offer online courses in medical assisting and these can be a great resource to earn while you learn. To find the best online schools, open a search engine
Some podiatric medical assistants may train on the job, but it is more likely that they will enter the field with some kind of qualification already in place. Whether they have pre existing knowledge or not, all must have a high school diploma. Once their studies are complete, the medical assistant needs to become certified by the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants, which will entitle them to receive the quarterly journal.
The Duties Of The Assistant
An assistant in this field will have a lot of different duties to perform on a daily basis. This may include:
- Administrative – part of the assistant’s job will be to sort files, answer the phone and set up appointments as and when they need to. They may also be involved in stock takes and may even need to clean the treatment areas. These tasks may not seem like a lot of fun, but this is really only a part of the duties.
- Clinical – this is the area in which the job starts to be very interesting. Part of the assistant’s duties will include getting the patient’s medical history and taking their vital signs, as well as answering whichever questions they may have about the procedure. In some cases they may have to help patients with their shoes, give footbaths and sometimes even trim toenails, especially in the case of elderly patients. They will often be charged with taking x-rays and helping with peripheral exams of the feet as needed.
- Surgical – depending on the type of practice, a medical assistant can sometimes help in surgery, but usually only in minor procedures, such as removing ingrown nails or cutting off bunions.
The job outlook for podiatric medical assistants is quite good, since there is such a lot of need for them. Of course, this varies by state as does the salary and a podiatric medical assistant may find that from state to state, the opportunities open to them are radically different.
A medical assistant can make anywhere from $16 500 to $56 000 a year depending on their experience and this is why so many of them choose to take extra work or work overtime. Clearly, the best reason for becoming a podiatric medical assistant is not the salary.
Furthering Your Education
The choice to become a podiatric medical assistant may not be anyone’s first choice of career, but it can teach you a lot and give you a lot of experience in the medical field. Once you have qualified as a medical assistant, you will need to specialize, which may include taking courses at a local community college or taking special courses only offered over the course of a few days.
Some of these may include courses about the anatomy and physiology of feet, while others may specialize in treatment of a variety of diseases. In all of these, there is a need to keep up to date with current trends and the evolution of technology so that the candidate can be on top of their game.
One of the greatest parts of becoming a medical assistant is that you can transfer to another similar field. If you have been working for a podiatrist, it is no stretch of the imagination that you may start a job as a cardiovascular medical assistant or an optometrist medical assistant. This transition is easily done with a few courses or getting some experience in the new field.
Becoming a podiatric medical assistant is a quick process though it will require a certain amount of study. Candidates who choose to become assistants in this field will find that though the monetary rewards are relatively low, the ability to help others with issues they may be experiencing, albeit in their feet, is reward enough.
Your day to day duties may not be as mentally challenging as you would hope for, but becoming a podiatric medical assistant is an excellent start to a medical career and has the potential to propel you on to greater things, and keep you learning for the rest of your life. It may not be the easiest job or the best paying, but it is a job in which a lot of people find satisfaction, and in which many jobs are available.
From those who are fresh out of high school to more experienced people, the choice to become a podiatric medical assistant is often decided based on the fact that these jobs are available to all. Whether you choose to study to become an assistant or learn on the job, it is a career path that opens a lot of possibilities to those who work hard. And if you decide not to pursue the field of being an assistant forever, know that you can use it as a stepping stone to a whole range of other careers in the medical field.