A competent nursing and assisting medical staff is as crucial to the running of a hospital as the doctors and physicians themselves. Medical assistants are one such category of professionals who help in hospitals and private healthcare facilities. They are responsible for conducting both administrative and clinical duties requiring them to possess a versatile skill set. If you are interested, but unsure about how to become a medical assistant, our simple guide will point out the various aspects of the profession.
What are the Duties of A Medical Assistant?
The most basic duties of a medical assistant include taking patient histories and monitoring vital signs, helping physicians during patient examinations, and conducting laboratory tests. With an increasing number of hospitals adopting electronic methods of maintaining records, medical assistants need to be proficient at using various medical software. Administrative medical assistants are primarily responsible for maintaining patient medical records for use by the office. Clinical medical assistants are more focused on conducting laboratory testing, removing stitches, or preparing patients for examinations. Podiatric assistants work with foot doctors to make castings of the feet and develop X-rays. The exact nature of your duties will depnd on your specialty.
How To Become A Medical Assistant - The Education
Most of the training to become a medical assistant can be acquired on the job. Students with a valid high school education can gain employment as medical assistants, provided they have completed some background learning in areas such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy. While most states do not require any further formal training, students are encouraged to enroll in vocational training programs anyway. These programs typically last between one and two years, and in some cases the students can obtain an associate's degree. Through these courses, students will be able to sharpen their skills needed to become effective medical assistants, and carry out their duties more efficiently. If you are unable to attend classes, online programs are available that you may take to further your education. There are many advantages to online programs, and most of them are offered by accredited institutions. Employers may also look upon your post-secondary education favorably, increasing the prospects of securing a stable job.
Licensing is an important part of becoming a medical assistant. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence offers four basic certificates:
*Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
*Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from the American Medical Technologists
*National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
*Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association
You can choose the one which best suits your interests.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Having strong technical and analytical skills are highly important if you want to become a medical assistant. You must be able to understand medical charts, and be comfortable with using hospital equipment. If you feel you possess these qualities, a career as a medical assistant may be good for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the growth for this profession to be 31%; much faster than average, making it quite an attractive career option.