How To Become A Medical Assistant

When you walk into a physician’s office, a medical assistant is usually the first person to greet you. They check you into your appointment, make sure you fill out necessary paperwork, and have you wait until you can see the physician.

They might take vital signs, such as your weight and blood measure. After your appointment, the medical assistant can help with setting up future appointments and paying for your visit. This is an excellent choice for people who are eager to get started in the healthcare field.

Why Become A Medical Assistant

There are many different tasks that happen in a physician office: diagnostic tests, examinations, vaccinations, surgeries, and more. A doctor has to be available for many different kinds of duties, from prescribing medications to taking notes on a patient’s condition to being available for emergencies.

As duties for doctors have expanded, they have started to rely more on the help of assistants for responsibilities in the office and clinic. Medical assistants help with administrative and clinical tasks at a physician office.

Some of their administrative duties include: answering phones, scheduling appointments for patients, referring patients to other offices and scheduling their appointments there, entering patient information into their medical record, preparing medical records and sending them to physicians or whoever might need them, accepting payment from patients and medical billing.

Some of their clinical duties include: taking vital signs, such as height, weight, and blood pressure; entering patient information into their medical record; helping physicians with examinations if necessary; preparing blood and urine samples for diagnostic testing.

Medical assistants are an important part of a medical office. Without them, many of the most important tasks in a physician office would not be completed. Many offices have several medical assistants on staff to ensure the smooth running of their practice.

This is a great choice for a career if you have always enjoyed the health care field, but would prefer a position that is administrative, rather than dealing with patients directly. You should have good customer service skills, be highly organized, and be able to handle several tasks at once.

Medical Assistants should possess the following qualities and skills:

Medical Assistant Work Environment

Medical assistants work in physician offices. Much of their work is administrative. This involves answering phones, greeting patients, filing paperwork, and working on the computer. Clinical parts of the position include taking vital signs such as height, weight and blood pressure.

This is a job that requires interaction with patients. Medical assistants must be friendly and have good customer service skills. They must be confidential with patient information. They must be highly organized and able to handle several tasks at once.

Medical Assistant Salary

There are many factors to consider when taking salary into consideration. Those people with additional experience and education may be able to earn higher salaries than those without. Medical assistants can work in a variety of settings. Those who work in outpatient care centers tend to earn slightly more on average, compared to those who worked in private physician offices.

Average Medical Assistant Annual Salary


The average annual salary for medical assistants is $33,580 a year. Salaries start at $23,830 a year and go up to $45,900 a year.

Average Medical Assistant Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a medical assistant is $16.15. Hourly wages are between $11.46 and $22.07 an hour.

Stats were based out of 646,320 employed medical assistants in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Medical Assistants

Top Paying Cities For Medical Assistants

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Medical Assistant Career Outlook

Employment for medical assistants is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is an incredibly fast rate of growth, one of the fastest growing jobs within the United States. Those who are looking to get a job as a medical assistant should easily find a job. Those who are interested in the medical field may be interested in starting as a medical assistant.

Healthcare continues to expand within the United States. New healthcare laws have made it possible for more people to seek out medical professionals. More people than ever are going to get treated for injuries and illnesses. Healthcare facilities and private practices often employ medical assistants in order to support the practice.

Medical assistants help by providing administrative duties and clinical tasks. They are especially popular in primary care units. As healthcare units expand, more responsibilities will be given to medical assistants, while physicians concentrate on more complex duties.

Medical Assistant Degree

Although it is possible to start a career as a medical assistant with simply a high school diploma, it may be easier to earn a position with some formal training. Many people choose to attend a program in medical assisting. Several community colleges, vocational schools and online schools offer medical assistant programs.

Students in a medical assistant program take a variety of classes, such as anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, biology, first aid and CPR, phlebotomy, medical law, medical terminology, medical billing and processing, and other courses. Medical assistants are trained in both the administrative and clinical aspects of the job. These types of programs typically take one year to complete.

Those who do not have a degree from a formal program gain this knowledge from on-the-job training, learning about the document processing, billing and other administrative tasks, as well as the medical portion of the job.

Medical Assistant Coursework

This is a sample of the medical assistant courses that are taken in a typical program.

Pharmacology: Medical assistants will learn all about the different kinds of medicines, what they are used for, drug interactions, dosages, and more. Many people at a physician office will be prescribed medication. Knowing about medication is important for this position.

Medical billing: Medical assistants are responsible for collecting payment at the end of the appointment. Many people have health insurance that allows them to pay for appointments. Medical billing is the process of submitting payments to health insurance companies, so that physicians can be paid for services.

Medical terminology: Medical assistants are trained in all of the lingo of the field. Whether it is terms used to describe the human body, illnesses, procedures, or other terminology, medical assistants will be fully prepared.

Medical Assistant Career Path

Medical assisting is a great way to get your foot in the door in the healthcare field. It can lead to lots of other careers, especially in nursing.

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) They provide basic nursing care. They work underneath registered nurses (RNs) and physicians. Discuss any concerns a patient may have, take a medical history, administer tests, cater to a patient’s needs Nursing program One of the fastest growing nursing positions at the moment
Registered Nurse Overview One of the most advanced roles in the nursing field. Supervise other nurses, assess patients in their care, observe and record observations, operate equipment Bachelor’s degree in nursing This is a great position for people who are serious about nursing and want to advance their career.

Related Medical Assistant Careers

If you are interested in being a medical assistant, you may also be interested in these careers.

Dental Assistant: A dental assistant takes x-rays, schedules appointments, and sets up the dental examination rooms. They assist the dentist with anything they may need.

Pharmacy Technician: A pharmacy technician dispenses medications to customers. They work alongside pharmacists making sure medications are correct.

Phlebotomist: A phlebotomist is trained to draw blood. The blood samples are collected and brought to a diagnostic lab.

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