Guide to Medical Assistant Training
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Guide to Medical Assistant Training

Dec 04, 2008

Medical assistants perform a wide variety of duties depending on the needs of their employers. When you are seeking medical assistant training, you will want to find a program that covers all areas of the medical assistant's potential responsibilities. These may include the administrative, clerical, or clinical functions performed in the office or a combination of all three depending on the type of setting and the size of the practice. Generally, the larger the facility, the more specialized the job requirements will be.

Different Types of Medical Assistants

If you are employed in a large practice to perform medical assisting duties, your responsibilities may be considered clerical. This may include answering the phone, greeting and checking in patients, scheduling appointments, billing, and any type of communications carried out on the computer.

While the clerical medical assistant does the same types of work normally performed in any type of office, the administrative medical assistant handles those duties that are related to healthcare. They will take care of patients' files, arrange medical tests, file medical insurance forms, and arrange for patients to be admitted to the hospital when needed. The administrative medical assistant may also be responsible for all of the clerical duties in the office.

The laws vary by state and they will determine what a clinical medical assistant is allowed to do in the office. They may be responsible for preparing patients for doctors' exams, updating charts, and assisting during exams. Depending on the laws of the state, the clinical medical assistant may be permitted to call in prescriptions for patients, collect specimens for testing, explain procedures to patients, or sterilize equipment and instruments. Some of them also take blood, remove stitches, and perform EKGs.

When choosing the type of medical assistant training you want, you may want to consider the role of the specialized medical assistant. This means that you will have specific duties as a result of your area of expertise. If you are interested in a particular field of medicine, you may want to include studies that pertain to that area of interest.

Employment Opportunities without Formal Training

In the past, most doctors trained their own medical assistants and no special education was required. However, this practice continues to be less popular even though formal education is not legally required in order to work in this area. Since most programs only last for about six months to a year, it would be in your best interest to get the education that is available and receive a diploma, certificate, or associate degree which is normally a two-year program. This will greatly increase your chances of employment and will provide you with the skills that will give you confidence in your new position.

Required Qualifications for Medical Assistant Training

You will need to have a high school diploma or GED before you will be accepted at a medical assistant school or college. You will also need to be the type of person who is caring, compassionate, and reliable. Don't forget the importance of presenting yourself in a visually professional light so that employers will see you as a dedicated person who is interested in doing the job for which they are considering hiring you.

The different time requirements for training are due to the availability of a diploma, certificate, or associate degree. A certificate or diploma can usually be earned within one year and usually is obtained after completing a program that focuses entirely on medical assisting without electives or university requirements. An associate’s degree which takes two years to complete can give you a much bigger advantage to being hired over those who have only a diploma or certificate. In addition, an associate degree gives you the foundation for a more advanced program if you decide you want to continue your education and earn a bachelor's or master's degree.

The training you get to become a medical assistant is a very important choice in preparing you for the type of medical assistant career you are interested in. Do your research and find the best medical assistant training program available to you.

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