Certified medical assistants (MA) are in high demand! With minimal education requirements, an MA makes a terrific career opportunity for anyone looking to enter the medical field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for MAs in 2021 was $17.88 per hour. While compensation varies according to many factors – including location, work setting, and experience – many health systems are realizing the value of MAs and have increased wages to help offset job vacancies. But what do medical assistants do?
What is a medical assistant?
Medical assistants provide invaluable physician support services that ensure healthcare facilities run efficiently. As an MA, you will serve as a patient liaison in a variety of healthcare settings such as clinic offices for physicians, podiatrists, and other health practitioners. Using exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, MAs assist clinic staff and keep patients at ease throughout their visit.
According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, MAs are generally accountable for administrative and clinical tasks. What a medical assistant does may include, but is not limited to:
1. Taking medical histories
2. Explaining treatment procedures to patients
3. Preparing patients for examinations
4. Assisting the physician during examinations
5. Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
6. Performing basic laboratory tests
7. Informing patients about medication and special diets
8. Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician or other licensed provider (e.g., a nurse practitioner or physician assistant)
9. Transmitting prescription refills as directed
10. Drawing blood
11. Taking electrocardiograms
12. Caring for wounds and changing dressings
13. Using computer applications
14. Answering telephones
15. Welcoming patients
16. Updating and filing patient medical records
17. Coding and preparing insurance forms
18. Scheduling appointments
19. Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
20. Handling correspondence, billing, and bookkeeping
How are medical assistants different from other healthcare roles?
Medical assistants serve in supportive roles to perform administrative and clinical tasks under direct supervision from physicians and other professional staff. Nurses, paramedics, and physical therapist assistants all work in various capacities to examine, diagnose, and treat patients. (Oh, and we’ve got those options too!)
What education and certifications do medical assistants need?
Medical assistants must complete an accredited program to sit for the certification exam. Many programs can range from one to two years in length. At Mercy College PLUS, our MA program prepares students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam and earn their certification in one year.
Become a medical assistant in one year!
You can become a certified MA in just one year! The MercyPLUS medical assistant program is your springboard to career opportunities that enable you to earn a competitive wage while completing your certification and/or employer tuition reimbursement options. Earn your certificate through 100% online instruction, two six-hour skills labs, and 160 hours of clinical practicum experience with one of our local healthcare partners.