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Medical Assistant

What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant performs clinical and administrative duties alongside nurses and physicians.

What are Some Medical Assistant Duties?

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) states that while the duties of medical assistants vary by employer, these individuals are responsible for a number of clinical and administrative tasks. Some of their duties involve taking patient history and vital signs, helping with patient examinations, scheduling patient appointments, and preparing blood for lab tests. Medical assistants' responsibilities may also depend on which duties they are allowed to perform in the state in which they work.

What is the Typical Work Environment for a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants work in a variety of different environments, including physicians' offices, nursing homes, hospitals, dentists' offices, and other healthcare facilities.

How Do I Get Started and What are the Education and Certification Requirements?

It is fairly easy to start on the path to becoming a medical assistant. In order to do so, one must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many employers provide on-the-job training for medical assistants. According to an article published by US News, there is no formal education necessary, but many certification programs and associate's degree programs are available. Those who have completed a medical assistant program can take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam to become certified. There are also a number of other boards that certify medical assistants, all of which require formal training. This certification is not necessary to be a medical assistant, but some employers prefer or require it.

What is the Average Salary and Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, the median medical assistant salary in 2010 was $28,860 per year, or $13.87 per hour. The employment outlook is excellent, with the BLS predicting 31% job growth from 2010-2020.