Medical assistants are frontline heroes that keep healthcare offices running smoothly. If you’re a people person with good organizational skills and have a passion for helping those in need, now may be the time to consider this rewarding career. But is a medical assistants’ job secure? Is there a future for people in a tech-heavy industry? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical assistants is projected to grow 18 percent in the coming decade. Medical assistants are in demand, and the future looks bright.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical assistants manage a broad range of clinical and administrative duties in healthcare offices. As allied health professionals, they’re members of a dedicated, multidisciplinary team focused on delivering top-quality care. Patients are their number one responsibility. Their duties include:
Answering Phone Calls
Office assistants manage the switchboard in a doctor’s office, but they have no medical training. When clients call with health-related questions, they’re turned over to medical assistants. Medical assistants answer the questions they can and then route messages to the proper providers. It’s an efficient way to ensure patients get prompt care.
Managing the Schedule
Medical assistants work with office assistants to manage a multi-provider schedule, verifying that the appropriate staff and equipment resources are available for patients based on their needs.
Medical assistants walk patients to exam rooms and update their health records before the physician arrives. If the exam requires a change of clothes, the medical assistant gives the patient instructions and assists, as necessary.
Obtaining Vital Signs
Vital signs, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respirations, and peripheral oxygen saturation, are valuable clinical measurements. Over time, changing trends can help identify drug side effects and risk factors for disease, so vital signs are taken at every visit by a skilled medical assistant.
Preparing Exam Rooms
Medical assistants are responsible for maintaining clean, well-stocked exam rooms. Before each shift, they inventory the shelves to ensure doctors have what they need. Between visits, they disinfect shared surfaces and sanitize equipment to minimize the spread of infectious disease. At the end of the day, they collect sharps and any medical waste that requires special handling.
When blood and urine tests are ordered, medical assistants help collect the specimen. They draw blood and instruct the patient on the clean technique required to get a viable urine sample.
Medical assistants can perform electrocardiography without close supervision. A more common duty in a cardiology office, EKGs are also ordered by general practitioners to evaluate symptoms, like shortness of breath, or as part of an annual physical.
Assisting with Procedures
Specialists from dermatologists to gynecologists perform in-office surgical procedures. As a medical assistant, you’ll set up equipment, pass the doctor instruments and collect samples for biopsies. You will also assist with aftercare responsibilities, such as suture removal and dressing changes.
Medical assistants are the doctor’s liaisons. They can’t dispense medical advice, but they can stand in for the physician and reinforce their recommendations.
Relying on their clinical expertise, they may answer basic health questions, review pre- and post-procedure instructions, and schedule follow-up appointments. When families are involved, they assist in care coordination.
Are Medical Assistants in Demand?
With so many traditional careers being replaced by automation, students may worry about paying for training. Education is only a good investment if it teaches relevant skills.
The good news for anyone interested in a healthcare career is that the field is growing. The better news for medical assistants is that they will remain in high demand for at least the next decade. Few other careers can compete.
Why Are Medical Assistants in Demand?
While the pandemic has underscored the need for more frontline medical staff, the reason for the demand is America’s changing demographics. The population is aging and needs more of the preventive healthcare services that only doctor’s offices can provide.
Primary healthcare providers are serving as gateways for improved access to healthcare, but they need more qualified staff to expand services. Trained in both administrative and clinical functions, a medical assistant’s skills are a perfect match for private practices and busy hospital outpatient departments.
What’s the Easiest Way to Become a Medical Assistant?
You can become a medical assistant by getting an associate degree or a vocational school diploma. Both will qualify you for similar positions, but only a diploma program can be completed in nine months, attending full-time. It’s an easy way for adult learners to get the training they need and re-enter the workforce quickly before missing too many paychecks.
What are the Benefits of Attending a Medical Assistant Diploma Program?
Vocational school diploma programs are a fast and affordable pathway to higher education and job security. Benefits include:
Condensed Training Programs
Vocational school programs are shorter than associate degree programs, but they’re just as comprehensive. If you attend classes full-time, you’ll complete the same core curriculum but without having to spend time or money on elective courses that don’t add skills to your resume.
There’s always a gap between what you learn in school and the real world, but industry-experienced instructors know the difference. They’ll show you the ropes and help you transition comfortably to a new work environment.
The “watch, do, teach” method of learning earns high praise from educators, but college students often feel stuck in the watch stage.
Vocational school courses feel more like on-the-job training. You’ll learn to use the same equipment medical offices use, practicing on peers and in the lab. By the time you get your first medical assisting job, you’ll be a pro at taking vital signs and running the EKG.
Job Placement Services
Getting a job as a medical assistant isn’t hard but finding the right position can be challenging. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and our career goals differ. Vocational schools specialize in helping their graduates find gainful employment in jobs that are a good fit for them. The best institutions provide lifetime job placement benefits, a plus in a changing world.
Ready to enjoy all the benefits of a medical assisting program? Do you have 9 months to learn a new trade? If so, then becoming a medical assistant may be the right career path for you. Help patients stay educated and healthy, while enjoying an in-demand job. Healthcare is a rewarding career so learn more about Peloton College’s medical assistant program. Start down the path to a new career 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.