What is Medical Assisting?
When it comes to working in the medical field, you have a lot of choices. One option, which offers stability, diversity and an opportunity to help people is medical assisting. Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who are often cross-trained to perform direct patient care and administrative or front office duties. Medical assistants work with physicians in various clinical settings including medical practice and clinics to ensure a practice runs smoothly.
Medical assistants perform a variety of tasks including administrative and clinical. Typically, a clinical medical assistant sees the patient prior to the doctor and prepares them for their visit. Duties of a clinical medical assistant include measuring and recording vital signs, taking medical histories, collecting lab specimens and performing basic tests, such as EKGs.
Not all medical assistants handle clinical tasks. Some focus on administrative medical assisting. Administrative assisting involves making sure the practice runs efficiently. Responsibilities may include coordinating various aspects of the patient's care including scheduling, gathering insurance information and providing referrals to other providers.
Keep in mind, medical assistants work in all types of specialty practices including oncology, internal medicine and cardiology. The responsibilities may also vary based on the type of practice or clinic where an MA works. For example, a pediatric medical assistant may perform different tasks than an ophthalmic medical assistant.
Several factors play a part in the average medical assistant's salary. Those who have become certified medical assistants often earn more. MA's with additional skills and training may also command higher salaries. Experience and the part of the country you live in also factor into earnings. In general, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical assistants in 2014 was just over $29,600. The top 10 percent of medical assistants earned wages a little over $41,000 a year.
If you are looking for a healthcare career which is in demand, you're in luck. Medical assistants are needed for all types of medical practices throughout the country. The aging baby boomer population is partly responsible for the increased need for medical assistants. The need for medical assistants is predicted to increase by about 29 percent through the year 2025. That percentage is much higher than the average for other occupations.
Both nurses and medical assistants are valued members of the healthcare team. Depending on where they work nurses and medical assistants may have some responsibilities which overlap. For example, both may take vital signs, give injections and record medical histories. Although there are some similarities, there are also many differences between the two professions. (read more…)