Medical Assistants: Scope, Salary, How to Become one?

In the recent past, we have realised the true value of the medical field. The Whole Medical field is divided into many segments and apart from doctors and their support staff, the medical facility roles go way beyond that. The size of a normal hospital and the staff working there can be immense sometimes as the capacity of a hospital to intake and provide good facilities to the patient can be large to provide various health facilities which are always important.

Medical Assistants: Scope, Salary, How to Become one?
Medical Assistants: Scope, Salary, How to Become one?

Medical assistants are professionals in the field of medicine and are among the most important members of any healthcare team. They provide crucial support to doctors and other medical professionals, helping to ensure that patient care is of the highest quality. They also make sure that the regular work of a hospital to take care of its patients remains uninterrupted.

By far we know that medical facilities are not just provided by the doctor and their helping staff like doctors, nurses etc. But there has to be proper management there has to be a team that coordinates between the patient and the doctors. 

A Medical Assistant is a role which is there to help both the patient and to make life easier for supporting health staff. In the different medical centres, the duties and roles of a Medical Assistant differ but they typically include duties like taking care of patient medical records including the history of the patient. Various other duties may include preparing the patient for examination, scheduling appointments, and assisting them in diagnosis and treatment. Following with the medical staff and keeping the patient’s family aware of any situation.

Eligibility to become a Medical Assistant

If you are eyeing to become a medical assistant it is not a mandate that you need to have a medical background in your schooling career. However, it is always advantageous if you have a medical background during your studies. Once you get the necessary education you can get a certificate or associate degree course for being a Medical Assistant.

Although if you are trying to be a medical assistant in the States you need to have a high school diploma or GED which is General Equivalency Diploma. However, some programs may even require you to have a minimum cumulative GPA or Grade Point Average. 

If you want to become a medical assistant your employer might ask you to complete a dedicated training program from an accredited college or institution and obtain a corresponding certificate, diploma or degree.

There are many colleges in the United States of America which offer a Medical Assisting Diploma or an AAS Associate of Applied Science which is a degree in Medical Assisting. Once you complete the diploma course it will allow you to start working as a Medical Assistant and also you can be ready to take the certification exam, also you can work towards getting a degree if required.

In short, the necessary terms which are required to become a Medical Assistant are:

  • You need to have a certification either from a military medical corpsman program or a medical assistant program.
  • You need to have a year or two of experience working in a medical field with some great interpersonal, organisational and people skills.
  • You need to have a high school diploma qualified with a certain GPA, a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent diploma.
  • You should be well aware of certain medical terminologies, with some referral tools, prescribed drugs and fundamental knowledge of clinical pharmacology. Apart from this, you need to be well aware of how to keep electronic medical health care records.

Roles and responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Once you have decided to become a Medical Assistant you need well versed in all the medical assistance and responsibilities. A Medical Assistant plays a variety of roles which include technical and managerial work. Sometimes you have to be ready to handle the reception area too. The foremost responsibility of a Medical Assistant is to take care of the patient under the supervision of doctors and medical staff.

The role of a Medical Assistant largely depends on the hospital’s function, experience, knowledge and other core responsibilities. Some other responsibilities which may vary as per your experience and the functioning of the hospital, are:

  • This role required daily administration work which mainly is coordinating between different teams either medical or non-medical staff. This work may involve scheduling, checking patient entry and discharge dates along with keeping track of the medical records of the patient as well as the financial records of the departments.
  • It also involves collecting and maintaining all the records of a patient. Records may involve patient medical histories which include all the present and previous medical test records, and other important medical records. This may also include keeping insurance settlement records.
  • This is a role which may require complete patient care assistance which may include providing full support to the patient’s family which may include compassionate support, making them aware of the conditions of the patient as well as the treatment reports. This role may require extra care and support so you need to be empathetic.
  • This role also requires you to be proficient with various medical terms and the drug which is provided. As a medical assistant, you need to give the patient the drug according to the medical professional assistance.
  • Some places may also require you to set up the treatment areas for the clinical examination of the patient. You may be helping the medical professionals with the treatment and ongoing patient care.
  • Various laws are governing the medical industry such as HIPAA which is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and OSHA which is Occupational Safety and Health Administration you being a well-trained and experienced medical assistant ensure you to adhere those laws.

Medical Assistants at a glance

There is a sudden increase of well-qualified and trained medical assistants in the medical field. According to a recent survey, there are well over 58% of medical assistants are offering their services to some physician’s office. Over 15% of them are deployed in hospitals of states, and local and private firms. Over 9% are in Outpatient care centres. 4% of them are working in the offices of chiropractors.

How to become a Medical Assistant

  • Get the necessary education required to become a Medical Assistant. Although there is no formal course or education required for you to become one.
  • There are various programs which are available in community colleges, and vocational and technical schools also. There are few universities in states they offer relevant courses in this field.
  • These programs are generally 1 year based they usually provide a certificate or diploma. Though some community colleges offer 2-year associate degree courses.
  • There are few instances where a medical assistant has a high school diploma or an equivalent course. The various role and duties are required to be learned during the job.
  • Students who are pursuing high school and are eyeing to become Medical Assistants should study biology, chemistry, anatomy, business, and, anatomy, business, and computer courses classes computer courses. 

Necessary certifications, licenses to become a Medical Assistant

This job depends on the state-wise selection of the candidate and many states do not require a certificate for that. Although it fully depends on the employer if they may ask for any certifications, registrations or, licenses. There are 5 major certificates for Medical Assistants offered by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

  1. CMA or Certified Medical Assistant.
  2. RMA or Registered Medical Assistant.
  3. NCMA or National Certified Medical Assistant.
  4. CCMA or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.
  5. CMAA or Certified Medical Administrative Assistant.

Salaries offered to Medical Assistants

The minimum salary drawn by a Medical Assistant is around $37,000 annually. The salary may vary per the role and responsibility you have offered.

Medical Assistant working in offices of chiropractors earns about $30,100.

Medical Assistant working in offices with a physician earns about $37,150.

Medical Assistant working in outpatient care centre earns about $38,270.

Medical Assistant working in hospitals earns about $37,800

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