Medical assistants have to fulfill a variety of tasks in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare settings.
They have a host of clinical and administrative responsibilities and they must meet specific requirements before being hired.
In this article we will talk about these requirements are will group them into four categories:
- Education Requirements
- Certification Requirements
- State Requirements
- Job Requirements
- Education Requirements
Although formal education is not always a requirement, many employers prefer to hire medical assistants who have a diploma, a certificate, or a degree in the field.
Training programs are available at many trade schools and community colleges and can usually be completed in 10 months to two years.
If you want to start a career in this field and you’re in the process of choosing a school, you should consider programs that are accredited by the Allied Health Education Programs or the Accredited Bureau of Health Education School.
Training programs for medical assistants usually cover three distinct segments: administrative, clinical, and an externship.
Externships are completed at approved medical facilities where students learn hands-on the ins and outs of this profession and work under the supervision of an experienced medical assistant.
National certification is not usually a requirement but having this credential will make it easier for you to find a better-paying job and will give you better advancement opportunities.
In some states, you have to be certified in order to complete specific tasks.
There are several different credentials for this profession:
- Certified Ophtalmic Assistant
- Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- Registered Medical Assistant
- Certified Medical Assistant
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- The National Certified Medical Assistant
Depending on the state where you want to practice, you may have to complete specific training.
For example, in California, you have to undergo training before you can administer intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections or perform venipuncture or skin puncture.
States may also regulate what type of tasks medical assistants are allowed to perform and if they have to be supervised by a physician or another medical professional.
Job requirements vary depending on the position and the employer, but medical assistants are usually required to:
- perform bookkeeping procedures and other administrative tasks
- establish and maintain patient records
- sterilizing equipment and performing other clinical tasks
- communicating with patients and their family members
- maintaining professional conduct and appearance
- assisting the physician when performing patient procedures
To be able to complete these various tasks, medical assistants need some special skills:
- Analytical skills are very important in this profession because medical assistants have to understand medical charts, medical coding, and billing.
- Medical assistants have to be detail-oriented because they have to keep accurate and detailed medical records for all patients.
- Patience, understanding, empathy, and compassion are important skills when communicating and interacting with patients and their families.