Over the next decade, the number of available medical assistant jobs is expected to grow much faster than other traditional positions. If you’re looking for a high-demand job and want to be in a healthcare setting, this means you may be able to secure a position as a medical assistant. However, you must know where to look and how to prepare.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants wear many hats. They perform both clinical and administrative tasks for doctors and health practitioners, while ultimately getting little of the glory for the end results and accomplishments. However, for those who enjoy helping people and improving the quality of life of other individuals, it’s a rewarding job.
Some of the typical tasks and duties assigned to medical assistants include taking and recording patient history, measuring vital signs, assisting physicians with examinations, giving injections and medications as directed by the physician, preparing blood tests, scheduling appointments, and so on.
The job demand for medical assistants in the United States is expected to increase tremendously over the next few years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics believesthat more than 160,000 new jobs will become available between 2012 and 2022. However, just because thousands of new jobs will be created doesn’t mean anyone and everyone can obtain a position as a medical assistant. It takes a lot of work, so read on to find out what you need to be doing to launch your new career.
Steps to Becoming a Medical Assistant
While the following steps will help prepare you for a career in medical assisting, this isn’t the only formula for obtaining a job in this competitive industry. Every path is unique, and much will depend on your experiences, personality, and work ethic. With that being said, the typical medical assistant follows this route:
- Getting Started
There are generally two different ways to start a career in medical assisting. The first involves general education and on-the-job training. This means obtaining a high school diploma or GED (as a minimum) and then finding a doctor or employer who’s willing to provide hands-on training. This is the fastest way to get started, but it’s often challenging to find a doctor who’s willing to provide on-the-job training without any sort of experience.
The second option is to complete an accredited program at a college, university, or technical school. Depending on whether you want a certificate or diploma, a medical assisting program could take between 9 and 24 months to complete. One of the benefits of going through an accredited program is that you’ll typically get classroom, laboratory, and externship assignments for a well-rounded resume.
- Obtaining Certification
In addition to completing a medical assistant training program, most employers ask applicants to become Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs). In order to obtain this certification, you must take an official exam. As an added benefit, CMAs often have access to higher pay and better opportunities.
- Finding a Job
Once you have education and experience under your belt, it’s time to find your first job as a medical assistant. While there may be many openings in your area, the key is to find the job that you believe will be most satisfying and enjoyable. After choosing which type of environment in which you want to work (hospital, chiropractic care, dental care, etc.), you can narrow your search for jobs that fit your needs. Start by crafting a killer resume, and then prepare for job interviews by tapping into available resources.
At Orion College, we offer a 16-month Medical Assisting Associate of Science Degree program designed to prepare students for the career of their dreams. For additional information on our flexible program and the courses offered therein, please contact us today!