Doctors are very busy people and need Medical Assistants to help them give their patients the best medical treatment possible.

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Job Tasks:

  • Prepare treatment rooms for patient examinations.

  • Record patient’s medical history, vital statistics or other information such as test results in medical records.

  • Interview patients to obtain medical information and measure their vital signs, weight and height.

  • Direct patients to examination rooms and prepare them for the physician.

  • Prepare and administer medications as directed by the physician.

  • Authorize drug refills and provide prescription information to pharmacies.

  • Collect blood, tissue or other laboratory specimens, log the specimens and prepare them for testing.

  • Assist practitioners to perform medical procedures.

  • Apply bandages, dressings or splints.

  • Clean medical equipment.

Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:

  • Knowledge of use of Diagnostic and procedural coding software

  • Knowledge of use of Microsoft programs (Word, Excel, Office and Outlook)

  • Knowledge and use of data entry software

  • Knowledge and use of electronic mail software (Microsoft)

  • Knowledge and use of management software (IDX Systems Patient Chart Tracking)

  • Knowledge and use of medical software (Epic, MEDITECH, GE Healthcare Centricity EMR, eClinicalWorks)

  • Oral Comprehension – Ability to listen to and understand information presented through spoken words.

  • Oral Expression – Ability to communicate information in speaking so that others will understand.

  • Deductive Reasoning – Ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

  • Problem Sensitivity – Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.

  • Written Comprehension – Ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

  • Speech Recognition –Ability to identify and understand the speech of another.

Desired Work Style Attributes:

  • Attention to details

  • Integrity – Honest and ethical

  • Cooperation – Pleasant with others

  • Concern for Others – Sensitive to needs of others

  • Dependability – Reliable and responsible

  • Stress Tolerance – Accepting criticism and dealing calming in stressful situations

  • Self-Control – Maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check

  • Analytical Thinking – Analyzing a variety of information to solve problems

Education Requirements:

To become a medical assistant, you first need to earn a high school diploma. The next step is to enroll in a medical assistant program. Many 2-year colleges and vocational schools offer these programs. The programs take 1 to 2 years to complete and they lead to a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.

You will take courses in subjects such as:

  • Anatomy

  • Medical terminology and law

  • Transcription

  • Record keeping

  • Accounting

You'll also learn about lab techniques and clinical procedures and first aid procedures. You need to learn first aid, too. Most programs include an internship. This allows you to develop your skills in an actual health care setting.

You may be able to get a position straight out of high school. In this case, you will learn your skills on the job. It helps to have related volunteer experience. But most employers prefer you to have completed a medical assisting program.

In some states, you must pass a test or a course before you can perform certain tasks. For example, you need extra training to take x-rays.

Some professional associations offer certification for MAs. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) awards the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation. To qualify, you need to complete an accredited program. You also need to pass an exam. Although certification is voluntary, it can offer an advantage in the job market. See the Other Resources section for links to more information about available designations.