How to Become a Medical Assistant: All You Need to Know

Under the leadership of the president, the medical assistant provides specific organization and implementation of the hospital's medical, teaching, scientific research and prevention work. If you want to be a medical assistant, you need professional training and qualification certificate.

7 Steps to becoming medical assistant

Before that, we have made a relatively simple introduction on how to become a medical assistant. Next, we will make a detailed and in-depth introduction on how to become a professional medical assistant through the following aspects.

Step 1: Understand medical assistant description and responsibilities

Medical assistants provide a variety of technical, clerical, receptionist, and patient care services under the supervision of nurses or medical practitioners. While the exact scope of their responsibilities may vary depending on the size of the hospital, medical facility, or practice, medical assistants generally support practitioners and other members of health care team by gathering patient medical history, taking and recording vital sign information, and occasionally assisting with minor, office-based procedures. Medical assistants are essential to deliver high-quality patient care.

Medical Assistant Responsibilities:

  • Obtaining and recording patient medical histories, vitals, test results and other information for medical records while maintaining strict confidentiality.
  • Coordinating the daily administrative activities, including scheduling, patient check-in and check-out, and patient medical record maintenance.
  • Preparing treatment rooms for clinical examinations and assisting practitioners with medical procedures and other patient care.
  • Delivering compassionate support, attention, and assistance to patients and families.
  • Ensuring compliance with all health care regulations, including HIPAA and OSHA.
  • Preparing and administering medications for patients as directed by physicians.

Medical Assistant Requirements:

  • Must have certification from a medical assistant program or military medical corpsman program.
  • One to two years of experience in a medical setting.
  • Have high school diploma, bachelor degree, or equivalent.
  • A basic understanding of patient care, medical terminology, coding procedures, reference tools, and appropriate clinical pharmacology for medical assistant practice scope.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational and customer service skills.
  • Familiarity with electronic medical health care record system.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a medical assistant

Before you want to be a medical assistant, you should first understand whether it is worth being a medical assistant for you, because it will bring you both advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of becoming a medical assistant:

1. Job growth

The job outlook for medical assistants is much better than the national average. According to the BLS, projected employment growth for medical assistants is 29 percent, compared to 22 percent for other health-care support occupations and seven percent for all occupations.

2. Short training

Aspiring medical assistants can enroll in an allied health career training program that is much shorter than a traditional four-year college degree program. Students can obtain an associate degree from a community college program, which normally takes two years. Or, they can get a diploma from a vocational school (or community college), which usually takes less than a year. Delta Technical College's medical assistant training program may be completed in nine months. This allows graduates to start looking for an entry-level job quite quickly.

3. Gaining expertise

Medical assistants have the opportunity to gain medical and technological expertise during their training and on-the-job. They learn medical terms, anatomy and physiology basics, office management skills, and keyboard techniques. Medical assistants can also follow the latest advances in the health-care field, including new lab techniques and medical procedures.

Cons of becoming a medical assistant:

1. Odd work hours

Some medical assistants have to work evenings and weekends. Patients may be in need of medical care at odd hours. Certain shifts can also be longer than traditional work hours. However, most medical assistants work regular schedules.

2. Limited job responsibilities

Compared to other medical occupations, medical assistants have somewhat limited job responsibilities. Tasks like patient treatment, clinical procedures, and health assessment are mostly restricted to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners. If you want to perform any of these duties, you have to obtain further training, for example, as a nurse or physician assistant.

3. Working with needles

Part of the job of a medical assistant is to work with needles when they draw blood or inject a patient. So, you can't be too squeamish in that regard. However, medical assistants who work in large facilities like hospitals may have the chance to focus only on administrative work.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for medical assistant

1. Purdue Global University

2. Liberty University

3. Keiser University

4. Herzing University

5. Ultimate Medical Academy

6. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

7. Bryant&Stratton College

8. Kaplan College

9. Globe University

10. Pima Medical Institute

Step 4: Go through College

There are many colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer medical assistant training programs. Depending upon your preferences, you may choose to earn a certificate or diploma in as little as 9-12 months, or an associate's degree in 18-24 months. Many professional physical therapy schools offer students a lot of high-quality courses. You could take plenty of math and science courses, enhance your communication skills through English composition, drama, and speech classes, study a foreign language so you'll be able to reach out to and communicate with different communities and patients and build computer and other office skills. Studying at university is very important to become a professional medical assistant.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

During college, while learning all kinds of medical knowledge systematically, you should seize the opportunity to do some related part-time work, and improve your ability through practice at the same time. You can volunteer at a health clinic, a hospital, a woman's clinic, or an elder-care facility. You can search for relevant part-time medical assistant interns through some special part-time website and you can also learn about relevant part-time information through the employment service center of the school.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for Medical Assistant

Good communication skills: Medical assistants must be active listeners in order to understand and accurately record patient issues and specifications. They must also be capable of clearly articulating instructions to the patient and effectively communicating information, both written and spoken, to other health care professionals working with the patient.

Organizational and clerical skills: Most medical assistants have at least some office duties, from answering the phones and scheduling appointments to maintaining patient files. Being highly-organized is critical, and clerical skills like typing and filing are helpful.

Medical knowledge: Medical assistants should have a good working knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and basic procedures like drawing blood or dressing a wound. Knowledge of first aid and CPR may also be required.

Knowledge of safety and sanitation: Medical assistants should be aware of personal and patient safety at all times. Understanding and practicing safety and sanitation protocols is essential.

Computer skills: Being comfortable with using computers is necessary for a variety of administrative tasks. Especially as many health care practices are adopting EHRs (Electronic Health Records), computer competency is one of the most important medical assistant skills.

Customer service skills: Remember, patients are customers who select their practitioners based on quality of care and service received. Treating patients with sensitivity and respect is essential.

Step 7: find relevant medical assistant jobs, and apply it

Where can I find relevant jobs? If you're ready to become a medical assistant, you may want to know where to find a relevant job. Now we provide you with a website where you can research for the job you want, you can click on it:

Important Tools for a professional medical assistant

Advanced knowledge and ability are the keys to becoming a professional medical assistant. They can help you develop a variety of career paths and obtain a high salary.

Develop your career path

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other health-care facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility. With experience, medical assistants can specialize and move into leadership roles. With more education they may advance into other health-care occupations such as registered nurse, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.