As a potential qualified medical assistant, you will not be limited to just working as a physician’s associate. Medical assistant jobs have several different fields in which you can be employed– administrative, clerical, clinical and specialist. Before enrolling in a medical assistant program at a community college or vocational school, however, you must have a high school diploma or GED (general equivalency diploma). Programs of this type usually run one to two years, depending on the content of the program and extent of qualifications it will grant to the graduate.
Examples of some of the courses you will be taking as a medical assistant includes human anatomy and physiology, legal and medical ethics, medical and health terminology, and fundamental clinical skills. You will learn how to check a patient’s vital signs, take blood, give injections and perform basic first aid procedures. As part of your laboratory training, you will be shown the computer skills necessary to process insurance claims, maintain accounting records, and other patient information. When enrolling in a program, however, be sure it has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in order to be eligible for any medical assistant jobs after graduation.
If you choose to opt for a clinical medical position, the state in which you work will have specific laws controlling what you are allowed to do as far as job duties are concerned. Your area of study while enrolled in a medical program will emphasize more patient-oriented assignments given by your supervising physician, such as performing pre-examinations, assisting the physician while he tends to a patient, preparing laboratory work, and asking patients relevant questions regarding the reason why they are seeing the doctor.
Clerical assisting jobs primarily consist of office work and front desk responsibilities, such as making appointments, monitoring patient arrivals, maintaining up to date insurance records, sending out letters as instructed by the supervising physician, and answering the telephone. You will be responsible for sustaining the stable functioning of a busy doctor’s office and seeing that the doctor does not have to worry about anything but the care of his patients. You may even be responsible for purchasing specific medical and office equipment, along with setting up appointments for patients who need diagnostic laboratory tests done in hospitals or other specialized medical facilities.
The salary of medical assistant jobs varies according to training, hands-on experience, how large the medical practice is in which you work, and location of the job. Medical assistants with an associate’s degree can expect to earn approximately $25,000 initially, but will stand to increase their earning power with experience and extended educational involvement. In addition, you will be entitled to receive health and insurance benefits, along with having a choice of job environments, such as clinics, physician’s private practices, and hospitals.
If you are interested in becoming a medical assistant and want further information, you can contact the American Association of Medical Assistants, 20 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60606 or go to their website at http://www.aama-ntl.org.