Medical assistants are in demand nationwide, but the need is particularly high in cities like Dallas where the healthcare industry is booming. If you live in the area, there are exciting career opportunities for medical assistants in some of the world’s finest institutions. Why not enjoy all that life offers by working as a medical assistant in this inspiring metropolitan area?
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical assistants are multi-talented support professionals. Part of the allied health industry, they manage a broad range of clinical and administrative responsibilities in medical office settings, including private practices and hospitals.
Clinical duties include:
- Rooming patients
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medication
- Assisting with treatments
- Wound care
- Diagnostic testing
- Stocking exam rooms
- Patient education
Administrative responsibilities involve:
- Managing the appointment schedule
- Updating medical records
- Inventory management
- Billing and coding
- Managing referrals
- Filing and faxing
- Answering the phone
- Writing correspondence
The mix of tasks depends on where you work. As clinical liaisons, a medical assistant’s role is usually blended. However, some medical assistants have largely clinical roles while others perform more administrative functions. One of the perks of being a medical assistant in a busy city like Dallas is the number of jobs available in different settings from specialty clinics to research hospitals.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Assistant in Dallas?
An easier way to become a medical assistant is to enroll in a vocational school training program full-time. If you can’t, most schools offer part-time options. However full-time students graduate work-ready in just nine months, so why wait for a steady paycheck. It’s an efficient, lifestyle-friendly way to launch a new career.
What Do You Learn During a Medical Assistant Program?
Medical assisting programs prepare students for entry-level positions. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience. Geared toward beginners, the curriculum teaches the theory and practical skills you need to be successful. Topics include:
Anatomy is the study of body structure. You’ll learn how parts from bones to muscles are organized and work together to support a body’s function. Subjects include the 14 body systems, common ailments, and treatments for the most likely conditions you’ll encounter as a medical assistant.
Physiology is the study of normal body function. Inseparable from anatomy, it covers the biological, electrical, and chemical processes that give us life. You learn how internal and external stimuli influence health. It’s a fascinating look at how we tick.
Electrocardiography is the measurement of electrical activity in the heart through electrodes attached to the chest and limbs. Recorded as an ink or digital tracing, an electrocardiogram (EKG) is used to diagnose heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure and other heart conditions.
EKGs are among the many diagnostic tests medical assistants can perform. Experienced instructors will show you how to prepare the patient, place the leads, and take the tracing with the same type of equipment you’ll use on the job. The theory you learned in anatomy and physiology will help you understand the scientific rationale for why EKGs are done.
Vital Signs Theory
One primary responsibility for medical assistants is obtaining vital signs, but why they do it is as important as how. Expanding on the knowledge gained in anatomy and physiology classes, you’ll not only learn how to take vital signs but also why they’re important.
Instructors will walk you through the technical process, explaining how to get accurate readings. You’ll practice on peers and patients during off-site clinical externships.
Drugs are used to treat most medical conditions. As a clinical resource for patients and pharmacists, you need a background in pharmacology to research orders and questions. Clients rely on you as an educator to clarify medication instructions. You’ll also work closely with pharmacists on verifying orders and obtaining insurance pre-authorizations.
Learning more about pharmacological treatments also helps you decipher doctor’s notes and surgical reports, making billing and coding tasks easier.
Hematology and Phlebotomy Theory
Hematology is the study of blood, its components, and its role in the human body. Phlebotomy is the process of drawing blood from a vein with a needle. Understanding both is the key to successful blood draws.
Through a combination of classroom theory and hands-on instruction, you’ll learn why blood tests are ordered and how to draw samples by practicing on simulators. If you’re good at it, Dallas has medical research centers that could use your skills.
Medical Lab Applications
Whether you’re drawing blood or testing urine samples, there are strict protocols for working in a laboratory setting. Medical assisting programs approach them from the safety first-perspective, covering both technical procedures and infection control principles. Topics include testing accuracy, quality control protocols, how to handle sharps, and universal precautions.
Medical Law and Ethics
Medicine remains a highly regulated industry in the interest of public health. This course covers rules affecting medical assistants from patient privacy to billing considerations. Graduates have an overview of medical law so that they understand how to work within the guidelines. Employers face stiff financial penalties for violations.
Healthcare is also fraught with ethical dilemmas. You’ll explore the most common and how to solve them. The goal of the course is to forge caring, well-rounded students who can think critically about the greater issues impacting medicine.
Medical Office Practices and Patient Services
Medical offices are like any other, but the service standards are higher. Why? When you’re dealing with life and death situations, even routine inquiries have greater significance. Sometimes, patients can’t just wait in line.
As a medical assistant, you’ll help direct workflow and provide patient services in an efficient and timely way. From scheduling and inventory management to patient outreach and satisfaction, you’ll get an overview of how healthcare offices work. Additional topics include professionalism, interpersonal communication, and customer care.
Software in Medical Offices
In the modern medical office, everything from scheduling to billing is now computerized. Hospitals and private practices use both health and finance software including electronic health records (EHR).
Once separate, most systems are now integrated so staff can access, update and store medical records and payment information through a single portal. Using the same programs as providers have, this course teaches you how healthcare data is managed.
Medical Insurance and Billing
Medical assistants are part of both the clinical and administrative teams. Responsibilities overlap. This class covers insurance models, claims processing, and pre-authorizations. You get a feel for how insurance plans work and the types of clinical problems you will run into when treatments aren’t covered.
What Is It Like to Be a Medical Assistant in Dallas?
Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the ninth most populous in the nation. With 7.5 million residents, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is the fourth largest metropolitan area in America. If you like to stay busy at work, you’ll enjoy the bustle.
Like Florida, it’s beach weather most of the year. But it’s not as much of a haven for seniors. A thriving population of young adults and immigrants makes it a culturally diverse environment with unique opportunities for fun and employment. Few areas boast as many research and teaching hospitals.
The pride of the west, Dallas is located in northeast Texas, a stone’s throw from Louisiana and Oklahoma. If you’re torn between higher education and exploring the country, why not do both? A blend of modern healthcare and old American heritage, it’s a vibrant place to grow your career.
In as little as nine months, you could be working as a medical assistant in one of their world-famous institutions. The future begins today.
Want to Learn More?
The objective of this Medical Assistant training program at Peloton College is to prepare the student for employment as an entry-level Medical Assistant performing administrative, clerical, and clinical duties within the health care field.
The mission of Peloton College is to be the premier provider of hands-on training and education by providing students and graduates with the necessary skills to secure occupational careers. Contact us today to learn more.