For people interested in spending their life working with people and helping them in need, there are numerous benefits of pursuing the profession of a medical assistant.
The medical industry relies heavily on medical assistants who perform a variety of tasks.
What can make you decide easily to enter this field is the fact that job opportunities are increasing faster than average.
This means that the growing number of doctors is followed by the growing number of medical assistants who provide a helping hand for all medical procedures.
Another advantage is that you can enter the field quickly since you do not have to take years of college.
So, if these reasons are good enough for you, then pursuing a medical assistant career should be your future goal.
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All medical procedures are closely related to medical assistants, so they represent an important part of the healthcare field.
Not only do they perform administrative duties, but they also deal with clinical issues.
They need to be people who solve problems and skillfully react in emergencies and have good interpersonal skills to be able to work with both patients and medical professionals.
They must pay careful attention to detail when entering data and possess strong analytical skills.
The primary obligations can be administrative tasks such as insurance forms, medical bills, answering calls and questions and scheduling appointments while they might also be asked to assist other health care staff by measuring patient’s weight, blood pressure, collecting fluid samples, etc.
In some clinics, the above-mentioned duties are assigned to one person, while in larger facilities the duties are divided into two or more people.
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Georgia
Even though high school education is the only prerequisite for becoming a medical assistant, in order to be a successful and efficient member of the health care team, it is necessary to have knowledge related to medical terminology, administrative office management, medical finance management, human biology, laboratory procedures and pharmacology, which definitely cannot be gained during your secondary education.
So, many people decide to enter the program which will provide them with all the previously mentioned qualifications and give them a Medical Assisting Diploma in less than 12 months.
The programs are designed to blend classroom and laboratory work and offer a broad and intensive understanding of healthcare.
Even though the credentials are not required by all employers, people are enrolling in programs and take certification examinations to become professionals in this field.
The Georgia Composite Medical Board identifies that medical assistants in Georgia may perform several medical tasks, including:
- Administering injections
- Taking vital signs
- Removing sutures and changing dressings
- Other tasks but only under the supervision of a physician.
Future medical assistants can select whether they want a diploma, certificate, or associate degree programs.
While associate degree programs are longer and more demanding, taking two years to complete, diploma and certificate programs can be completed between 10 months and 1 year.
The selection of programs should be based on accreditation provided by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
In addition to online programs, there are 28 CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting programs and 12 ABHES-accredited medical assisting programs in Georgia.
The most widely recognized professional certifications for medical assistants in the U.S. are:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants
- The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential, through American Medical Technologists
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified (PMAC)
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
Getting a Job
When choosing a job you should pay attention to the geographic location of employment, since it can be an important component in a medical assistant’s salary and job opportunities.
The population density and number of facilities all affect the demand for novice medical assistants.
Georgia’s medical assistants can find employed in a broad number of hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and physicians’ offices.
The candidates with accredited education and certification will certainly be given priority and the chances of getting the job are greater.
Also, once hired, the salary will be higher.
Medical assistants may look for job opportunities in:
- Emory Clinic, Atlanta
- Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Atlanta
- WellStar Medical Group, Marietta
- Piedmont Physicians Group, Atlanta
- Emory Children’s Center Inc., Atlanta
- Emory University Hospital, Atlanta
- Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon
- Shepherd Center, Atlanta
- University Hospital, Augusta
The Georgia Department of Labor, the need for healthcare support workers is expected to grow in the years to come.
Being one of the fastest-growing occupations in Georgia, medical assistants are expected to have high salaries.
However, the annual average salary is approximately $31,780 which is close to the national average.
The difference in salary among the cities is not so significant, but it still exists due to the development of the region and the number of medical facilities in the city.
Factors that also affect the salary are incomes of the citizens and the amount of work that a facility has during the day.
The table below shows the salary of a medical assistant in the state of Georgia annually since it significantly varies from one city to another.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
The duties of a medical assistant vary from facility to facility.
If the office is the smaller one, then they might be asked to take on both administrative and medical roles.
In bigger ones, the roles are divided among people depending on their education, experience, and eagerness to learn and advance.
The duties medical assistants are allowed to perform under the direct supervision of a licensed physician are:
- Dialysis procedures
- Administrative duties
- Basic laboratory procedures
- Administer medication
- Collect laboratory specimens
- Assist with patient treatments and examinations
- Take patient signs and symptoms
- Prepare patients for a physician’s care.