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Medical Assistant Career Outlook

Jun 08, 2010

There are many exciting opportunities available for medical assistants in many different settings. Because people are living a longer amount of time, they are developing more health problems. They visit their primary care doctor's office more and go to specialists – like cardiologists, dermatologists, and oncologists – more frequently. They are admitted to the hospital more often and reside in long-term care facilities. All of these places employ medical assistants to help with the day-to-day tasks in the office or hospital and also to help other medical professionals with patient care.

Job Description

A medical assistant's job duties can vary greatly depending on where she works. In the office, she might answer phones, file papers, help with billing or payroll, enter orders into the computer, and help the doctor by scheduling appointments. She might also help with things like weighing patients, taking vital signs, or assisting the patients to the exam room. A medical assistant can do a wide range of jobs. The same is true if the medical assistant chooses to work in another health care setting, like a hospital or nursing home. Depending on the amount of help available where the medical assistant works, she might be responsible for a large number of tasks, or only a few specific jobs.


Training to be a medical assistant can take from one to two years. Many medical assistants attend programs at technical schools and obtain a certificate to be a medical assistant in about one year. Community colleges offer associate's degrees in medical assisting and these programs last about two years.

Some of the best training that medical assistants get is after graduation when they are able to apply the skills they have learned about medical terminology, anatomy, the human body, and how medical facilities operate.

Salary Outlook

The salary outlook for medical assistants is great. Some jobs offer medical assistants up to thirty thousand dollars a year. Jobs in offices do not always offer medical benefits, so be sure to clarify this with your new employer before you accept a position. Salaries will generally be higher in larger cities and working hospitals instead of medical offices. There is going to be a continued need for medical assistants with varied experience who are comfortable working in a variety of medical settings for a number of years to come.

Tips to Maximize Earning Potential

The best tip for a new or even an experienced medical assistant is to learn as many new skills as possible. This will make you more attractive to potential employers. You should familiarize yourself with both the clerical parts of medical assisting and the patient care parts so you can be an expert in your field. If you are interested in making more money, look for a job with a larger company. You should also be willing to take on new tasks and train new medical assistants in order to be the most valuable employee in the place you are employed.

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