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Medical Assistant Career

Jun 08, 2010

The first step in becoming a successful medical assistant is hard work. Once the medical assistant is finished with his or her training, he or she needs to decide what kind of setting best suits their needs and interests. If they enjoy working with pediatric patients, they should pursue a career in a pediatrician's office. If clerical work is something in which the medical assistant excels, maybe a job in a hospital is a better choice. If caring for the elderly and assisting family members interests the new medical assistant, a career in long-term care might just be the answer. If the medical assistant is happy with their choice of jobs, chances are good that they will be successful and try to excel at them.

What Kind of Education Should I Have?

Medical assistants should first have a high school diploma or GED. From there, the medical assistant might choose to obtain a degree from a technical school. A diploma from a technical school means one more year of education after high school prior to employment. After high school, a medical assistant student can also choose to go to a community college and obtain an associate’s degree in medical assisting. Associate's degree programs generally last two years. The end result, however, will be the same: a satisfying and busy job as a new medical assistant.

Where Can I find a Job?

Jobs are available in a number of settings for medical assistants. Perhaps the most common places that medical assistants find employment is in the physician's office. Because there are so many different types of offices like family practice, geriatrics, pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonology, dermatology, and occupational medicine, as well as many others, it is important to find an office that fits the new medical assistant’s goals and interests.

In some offices, the medical assistant might be responsible only for clerical jobs like filing, answering the phones, arranging diagnostic testing for patients, organizing the doctors' schedules, or doing billing work. Other offices will provide the medical assistant with options that provide more interactions with patients like obtaining their height and weight and vital signs, putting the patients in exam rooms, drawing lab work, or blood sugar testing.

Jobs are also available in hospitals, medical clinics, diagnostic centers, and long-term care facilities. The key is finding the setting that is a good fit for the individual.

How Can I Make More Money?

Medical assistants can earn more money by obtaining more education or by doing more tasks at their workplace. The amount of money that a medical assistant makes is generally dependent on two things: the kind of jobs that are performed at work and the kind of setting in which they work. Generally speaking, medical assistants that work in hospital settings make more money than medical assistants that work in office settings. Those who work in hospital settings are usually eligible for medical and dental benefits as well. Medical assistants who are doing office work might not be eligible for these types of benefits. Working near bigger cities usually means a higher income as well.

What Kinds of Characteristics Will My Employer Look For?

Your employer will look for medical assistants who are on time for their jobs or even early. They will try to hire those who appear professional, organized, and friendly. Physicians will want to hire medical assistants for their offices who are pleasant with their patients and able to handle hectic office work. They will also want someone to work in the office that will be able to help them and the other staff complete necessary tasks. A good medical assistant will anticipate the needs of the physician and the patients.

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