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Medical assistant jobs are found in nearly every medical facility because of their value in both clinical and administrative tasks. Medical assistants are the perfect bridge between allied healthcare positions and healthcare staff. Because of this wide variance in responsibilities, it is easy to wonder what exactly the role of a medical assistant is. The truth is that it depends upon both the abilities of each individual medical assistant and the needs of the medical practice.

A certificate program to become a medical assistant takes less than one year, and an associate’s degree can be obtained in two years. The standard medical assistant makes around $30,000 annually and will help in both clinical and administrative applications to some degree. However, certain medical assistants may specialize in a particular clinical application or solely administrative duties by choice or necessity.

Clinical Medical Assistants

If the majority of a medical assistant’s responsibilities lie within a clinical application, they would be considered a clinical medical assistant. Clinical medical assistants work directly with a given physician. It is their role to handle the intake of patients, as well as check the history of the patient and vital signs. Most clinical assistants are trained to handle blood tests, X-rays and assist with certain procedures. Certain states place some limitations on what a medical assistant is allowed to do in a clinical application.

Administrative Medical Assistants

Medical assistants who are not certified or comfortable with clinical work will perform administrative tasks. These tasks can include assisting with patient and family questions, checking in patients, managing appointment schedules, contacting insurance companies, entering patient data and any other office duties. This is great for young professionals looking to build their knowledge of clinical procedures or seasoned professionals looking to transition into allied healthcare management jobs or medical coding jobs.

Registered Medical Assistants

Students looking to enter the field of medical assisting may choose to become a registered medical assistant to help their job search outlook. Medical assistants looking to become registered will need to complete a training program that has been accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education. Not only will registered medical assistants stand out over non registered candidates, but this registration often leads to higher salaries.

Certified Medical Assistants

Much like registered medical assistants, a CMA — or certified medical assistant – will often receive preference over non-certified candidates, and is more likely to attain a higher salary. Medical assistants looking to become CMAs must meet the requirements of the American Association of Medical Assistants and are then required to pass a 200-question multiple-choice exam.

Medical assistants may also choose a specialized certification for positions that require one. These certificates often lead to better earning opportunities. Here is a list of specialized certificates available to medical assistants:

  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Internal Medicine
  • OB/GYN
  • Oncology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Transplantation Surgery
  • Urology
  • Women’s Health

If you are looking to explore the potential of a medical assistant career or looking to expand your current medical assistant position, Personnel Results can provide invaluable healthcare career guidance. To see if you are a good fit for the medical assistant sector or to take the next step in your medical assistant career, contact Personnel Results today.

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