Interested in becoming a medical assistant? Here are the top 8 reasons to become a medical assistant now. The medical assistant field is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, the medical assistant will be joining the workforce sooner, there is a variety of responsibilities and work environments for the medical assistant and there are opportunities for advancement with the help of a few years’ experience and a certification. The medical assistant can also work in a specialized area including administrative, clinical, ophthalmic, podiatric and chiropractic. The medical assistant gets to help others in their time of need and work as a contributing member of a team. Finally, the medical assistant has an opportunity to work in an industry with competitive wages.
#1 Job Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Different geographic areas have higher demand for medical assistants as populations are increasing from the birth of many millennials and the increase in immigrants to the US. The increase in the elderly baby boomer generation and advancements in medicine are increasing the need for more medical assistants.
#2 Join the Workforce Sooner
Many medical assistant programs can be completed in as little as 12 months successfully earning 16 credits per term. As a medical assistant, you can gain your degree in a quarter of the time of a 4-year college and have the specific expertise to get a job as a medical assistant in a clinic, hospital, doctor’s office or ambulatory facility. These medical assistant programs give you opportunity to learn what you need to succeed in your new career. Many medical assistant programs also offer an internship for students to get real world experience before becoming a medical assistant.
As a medical assistant, you can take on a role that is responsible for patient management and clerical duties. This increased variety as a medical assistant will keep the job fresh. A medical assistant can also work in an emergency room atmosphere, making the role more exciting. Like working with babies? Transfer to the maternity ward of a hospital as a medical assistant.
Another source of variety comes with the hours a medical assistant works. Most doctor’s offices are open during normal business hours but many emergency services facilities will need medical assistants to work on nights and weekends. This opens up opportunities for those that have other responsibilities during the day. A medical assistant can find a schedule that works best for them whether day, night or weekend.
There are also a lot of different facilities a medical assistant can work in. They can work at a doctor’s office, clinic, hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility or in-home at the patients place of residence.
#4 Opportunity for Advancement
After graduating from a vocational school in a medical assistant program, the medical assistant has the ability to become certified with the many different certification organizations. A certification should open up new opportunities for advancement. A medical assistant program should get you ready for the following certification exams:
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) – passing this exam will award you with the designation of National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA).
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) – successful completion of this exam will award you with the designation of Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
- American Medical Technologists (AMT) – passing this exam will award you with the designation of Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).
With certification comes an ability to move into specialties within the medical assistant field. After a few years’ experience and the passing of a certification exam, the medical assistant will have more opportunities to choose what they like about the job and change to that specialty.
Once a student graduates from a medical assistant program they may have the option to choose a specialty within the industry. They can become administrative medical assistants, clinical medical assistants, ophthalmic medical assistants, podiatric medical assistants or chiropractic assistants.
- Administrative Medical Assistant – often responsible for filling out forms and doing administrative tasks. The administrative medical assistant may answer phones, process billing and insurance forms, schedule appointments, manage physician’s calendars and file records both paper and electronic.
- Clinical Medical Assistant– do basic laboratory tasks including sterilizing instruments and disposing of used medical supplies. They may also manage patients for exams or x-rays, remove stitches, draw blood or change dressings.
- Ophthalmic Medical Assistant – help optometrists provide eye care for patients. They may educate patients on proper care of contact lenses and help with minor eye surgery preparation.
- Podiatric Medical Assistant– assist the foot doctor with making castings of feet, developing x-rays, and helping with minor surgery preparation.
- Chiropractic Assistant – assist in checking in patients, managing medical billing and coding and answering phone calls. They may be responsible for maintaining inventory of office supplies, sorting mail and keeping the patient exam areas clean.
#6 Helping Others
Many people are in their time of need when they visit a hospital or doctor’s office. The medical assistant gets to help others with scary or painful procedures, easing the burden of a patient. Medical assistants work directly with patients and empathize with them during exams and procedures. The medical assistant will also help their fellow physicians and colleagues. Few things are better than helping others every day.
Along with helping others, the medical assistant feels a sense of purpose. The medical assistant can look at their achievements and the patients they have helped and feel a sense of purpose. The medical assistant will feel like what they are doing what matters in the world.
Medical assistants work in a team with physicians, nurses and other medical assistants. It can be fulfilling working alongside colleagues that care as much about the patients as you do. You will be able to ask and answer questions with your colleagues and find the best options possible to help your patients.
The people you work with will also become your extended family. It is hard to not become close with someone that you work for years with, 40 hours a week. Many medical assistants create life long bonds with their colleagues while working in the medical industry.
#8 Competitive Wages
The median annual wage for medical assistants was $32,480 in May 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those at out-patient care centers made the most, with hospitals and physician’s offices coming in at a close second and third. The American Association of Medical Assistants reports that compensation is based on a few different factors including:
- Years of Experience
- Geographic Region
- Work Setting
- Practice Specialty
Full-time medical assistants may also receive benefits including paid vacation, dental insurance, major medical insurance, vision insurance, sick leave, disability and discount prescriptions.
Do these top 8 reasons to become a medical assistant interest you? Ready for a rewarding career as a medical assistant? The Medical Assisting program at Daymar College is appropriate for entry-level positions in doctor’s offices, hospitals, home health agencies, and other allied health organizations.