Do you have a genuine interest in helping people? Does medicine and the health care field interest you? A career as a medical assistant might be just the career you have been looking for. Medical assistant careers are becoming increasingly in demand in doctor's offices and emergency clinics. To pursue a career in medical assisting, first consider the responsibilities, educational requirements and potential earnings of medical assistants to determine if this is the career for you.
Medical assistant schools prepare students for the daily responsibilities they will face as medical assistants in the field. Medical assistants perform a variety of jobs in both the front and back offices of a medical clinic. Front office duties may include answering the phone, scheduling appointments, preparing charts and verifying appointments. Medical assistants working the back office will commonly obtain patient medical histories, take vital signs, and collect blood and urine samples to be sent to the lab for testing. Additionally, medical assistants give injections, assist the doctor with minor procedures as necessary and maintain the cleanliness of the office and patient exam rooms. Most medical assistants work a regular 40 hour work week but depending on the place of employment, may be required to work evenings, weekends and some holidays.
Although formal training is not required in most states, medical assistant schools, junior colleges and vocational high schools throughout the country offer medical assistant programs that can be completed in as little as one to two years. Although one year programs offer students the ability to earn a diploma and obtain certification in the medical assisting field, two year programs give students the opportunity to earn an Associates degree. In medical assistant programs, students will study courses in human anatomy, medical terminology, front office procedures and laboratory techniques. Upon completion of the classroom courses, students will serve an internship in a local doctor's office or clinic allowing them to practice their newly learned skills.
As more doctors choose to utilize medical assistants in the office in order to care for more patients, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for medical assistant careers is expected to grow an estimated 34 percent between 2008 and 2018.
The average annual salary of a medical assistant varies depending on job location, experience, education and certification credentials. Entry level medical assistant jobs average between $19,424 and $31,274 annually. Those with over 5 years experience commonly average between $25,025 and $38,641. In addition to regular wages, some employers offer benefits that may include medical/dental insurance plans and paid vacation or holidays.
If you are interested in pursuing a medical assistant career, contact a school near you to get started on the road to joining others in the rewarding field of medical assisting.
As described above, medical assistants work in all areas of the medical office or hospital. They often work with patients, taking vital signs and scheduling appointments. Medical assistants have a wide range of options when it comes to their work. Medical assistants can work with nurses, doctors, physical therapists, receptionists, billing clerks, and many others in the medical field. With a knowledge of a wide range of subjects, the medical assistant has many opportunities to work in different areas. Some medical students also decide to work with a home care facility, often assisting a nurse or caretaker for the elderly or disabled. If students choose to specialize in an area, then this also opens new doors to job opportunities. While most medical assistants work full-time, others work only nights and weekends. Scheduling for a medical assistant is often open and flexible, making it an excellent career choice.
Employers realize the benefits of having medical assistants in their practice and are readily hiring them into various positions at various levels of pay. Medical assistants are paid according to their level of training, specialty knowledge, and years of experience. Typically, less than 1 year, 1-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-19 years, or 20+ years can make a big difference in a medical assistant salary. Those who are certified, and work in a specialty office, hospital, or treatment facility usually earn more right from the start.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Earn?
Medical assistants are paid according to their level of training, specialty knowledge, and years of experience. Typically, less than 1 year, 1-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-19 years, or 20+ years can make a big difference in a medical assistant salary. Those who are certified, and work in a specialty office, hospital, or treatment facility usually earn more right from the start.
Starting pay for a new medical assistant is $10-$12 hr. Initially, entry level pay is low but after a few months employers are willing to grant a raise. An experienced medical assistant (3 plus years) makes $15-$18 depending on what type of medical office it is, and their location. Also, if they have special skills, such as being fluent in another language such as Spanish (bi-lingual), they can expect a little more pay. Specialty doctors pay more than primary care.
Experienced Medical Assistant Pay
Many medical practices have completely replaced their nursing staff with medical assistants, because of their vast array of knowledge and skills, and flexibility in all clinical and administrative areas of a busy medical office. After 2-3 years of experience in the field, the national average monthly salaries for medical assistants usually range from $1,900 to $2,200 monthly net; mostly depending on the medical office's location and specialty. The national average earning for medical assistants was about $31,000 per year in 2008. The top ten percent earned up to $38,000 based on their education, credentials, certifications, years of experience, practice specialty, and location.
One of the best things about a career in medical assisting is that there is always a shortage of these trained individuals. The medical field is always looking for new and intelligent students who want to work in the field of medicine. For this reason, many students who complete their medical assistant training do not have much trouble finding a good job. Most medical assistants make around $30,000 a year, with variations depending on specialty. This is an excellent career choice for those interested in helping others and working in the medical field. Often, medical assistants go on to medical school to become a doctor or a specialist in another field. With this kind of experience, possibilities are endless.
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