Medical assistant a fast-growing career that offers a healthy future
Looking for a career in medicine that offers ample variety and opportunity? A career as a medical assistant may be for you.
With increasing utilization of medical office assistants in the rapidly growing health care industries, employment growth is expected to climb. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects medical office assistant as a career to be one of the fastest growing occupations.
Medical assistants are multi-skilled health practitioners trained to work in the business and clinical parts of a medical office. They assist physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors and optometrists in helping their offices run smoothly.
“Medical assistants can really do almost anything clinical or administrative in a medical setting,” said Kristin Spencer, medical assistant program director at JCC. “They can work in doctor’s offices, clinics or hospitals, and they can fill different roles, like working in pharmacy, triage units and more.”
In smaller offices, medical assistants are usually “generalists,” while those in larger offices may specialize in a particular area under the supervision of department administrators. Clinical duties vary, and may include taking medical histories, recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician in the exam room. They may draw blood, perform an EKG, give an injection, manage scheduling, coding and billing, utilize electronic medical records, provide patient education, advocate on behalf of patients and much more.
“Every day is different, and every task is different,” Spencer said. It is important to have a good bedside manner, and to like to juggle many different tasks.
Medical assistants must combine caring, compassion, professionalism, intelligence and skill in their daily work. Good communications and interpersonal skills are a plus, because it is a health field where one will be interacting with patients who may be sick or injured, or uncertain about health questions.
JCC medical assistant classes foster educating the students in all areas, preparing them with necessary skills and interpersonal savvy. JCC student learn skills in classroom and in lab, such as giving injections and drawing blood, and are able to apply those skills when they go out to their externship experience in medical settings. JCC’s program focuses on preparing medical assistants to be part of the patient centered medical home.
Students may become medical office assistants in about two years going all three semesters, fall, winter and spring. JCC offers either an associate degree or certificate in medical assistant, with the associate degree helping one be more marketable and competitive in the job search. Students must also pass an exam, the Certified Medical Assistant Examination, compiled by the American Association of Medical Assistants, which helps to certify their skills.
Employment for medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average –an increase of 34 percent or more – through 2018, ranking it among the fastest growing occupations. Earnings of medical assistants vary depending on experience and skill level, ranging from $20,600-$45,000.
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