The Medical Assistant
The career with the most promise is that of medical assisting. A medical assistant performs administrative and
clinical tasks in doctor’s offices, ambulatory clinics connected to regional hospitals, emergency and walk-in
clinics, and sometimes pharmacies. Some medical assistants can be trained right on the job, but most are opting to
complete a one or two year formal training program. Depending on the state you live in, a medical assistant can
earn as much as $30,136 a year, or even more. Another great aspect of becoming a medical assistant is that it
offers opportunity for advancement into other healthcare fields like:
- Medical Laboratory Technician or Medical Technologist; performs laboratory work to
identify, diagnose and treat diseases. They use laboratory equipment, medical devices and computers to
perform laboratory procedures. They may collect blood and prepare culture specimens and can earn as much as
- Medical Library Technician; collects and organizes medical information and help
practitioners find the information they need for patient care, education, research, and administration.
Most of the information is now stored in electronic databases and information systems. They can earn from
$25,000 to $35,000 per year, or up to $55,000 for librarians.
- Medical Records Specialist; obtains, posts, and analyzes medical, workload, finance, and
insurance data. They ensure that this information is properly recorded into medical records so
practitioners can plan and evaluate health care provided to patients. They can earn $25,000 to $33,000 (Medical
Records Administrator can earn as much as $40,000 a year).
The list of job opportunities for a medical assistant to advance in other fields goes on and on, such as
Ultra-Sound Technician, Nuclear Medicine Tech, Patient Care Representative, Radiation Therapy Technologist, or
Medical Appliance Technician, who helps patients learn to use medical devices prescribed by a podiatrist or
prosthetist, to name just a few. We could go on, and on, there are at least another 30 different job opportunities
in related fields. The main point we are driving home here is that becoming a medical assistant, especially in a
large group practice, or HMO can actually put a young person in the right place for advancement, where opportunity
is always knocking.
Medical Assistant Titles and Credentials
want QUALIFIED STAFF when we hire Medical Assistants!"
Medical assistants in the USA have formal and informal titles
and health industry recognized designations, ranging from certified, or registered medical assistant (CMA, or
RMA), certified clinical, or certified administrative medical assistant (CCMA, or CMAA), medical office
assistant, front desk medical assistant, back office medical assistant, doctor's assistant, advanced and
specialty certified medical assistant (SCMA), student medical assistant (SMA), to simply medical assistant
A well trained medical assistant, especially when certified, registered,
or otherwise credentialed, adds a kind of value to the doctor's medical practice that goes far beyond
Professionalism, care, courtesy, empathy and attention to detail are high on the list. A certified medical
assistant can communicate efficiently with physicians, patients and other members of the health care team and has
what it takes to handle clinical and administrative medical office skills accurately and efficiently. Surely you
must have noticed that there are so many more certified medical assistant jobs advertised when you check the
classified ads for jobs.
Certification As Your Secret Weapon
Doctors everywhere strongly agree: medical assistant
certification provides assurance that they are hiring someone who is knowledgeable, trained and qualified for the
Certified medical assistant credentials are your secret weapon, your "ace in a hole", the sure
thing that makes you stand out from the rest. When job vacancy announcements specify: "We seek a certified
medical assistant, certification is preferred," then typically, only those who have earned the
distinction of a certified, registered, or otherwise credentialed medical assistant will be considered for these
positions, although, from time to time, they might consider a non-certified applicant, with the expectation that
he, or she obtains certified credentials within a given time.
Role As A Certified Medical Assistant—What Will My Duties and Responsibilities Be On The
Some medical assistants serve in a more general position,
others are highly specified in their duties. In your role as a certified medical
assistant you will likely handle routines of daily medical office operation, where you may also
encounter unexpected situations that require fast thinking and immediate actions to situations that can
happen ANYWHERE in the practice's front, back, laboratory, waiting area, or storage room facilities.
Handling these responsibilities requires attention to detail, flexibility and a keen understanding of basic
principles as they apply to customer services and health care provision in a medical office.
"I Just Graduated from a Medical Assistant Program and Have My Diploma—Am I Also
No, just graduating from a medical assistant school, or
medical assistant distance education program doesn't make
you a certified professional! Certification is NOT automatic just because you graduated. You may have your
medical assisting diploma, but to get certified you must apply to sit for a medical assistant
certification exam and pass it. Only then will you receive your designations and can call yourself a
certified professional. Some well respected professional certification sponsors also make their exams
available to those who did NOT receive formal vocational training from a medical assistant school, but
instead have several years of continuous experience working in the discipline, or have received their
medical and health care training in the Military.
Receive My Training at a Medical Assistant School—Can I Still Get Certified if I Have Enough Work
Yes, if you have at least 5 years experience as a medical
assistant then you can apply for the RMA certification exam through American Medical
Technologists (AMT) who have been certifying medical assistants, phlebotomists and other allied health
professionals for decades. AMT allows experienced medical assistants to demonstrate that they are just
as knowledgeable and equally qualified as their formally trained and certified counter parts.
Once you pass their nationally recognized certification exam it serves as tangible proof of your knowledge
in the medical assistant discipline so you can better compete on today's rapidly growing job market.
You may think you already have a job now and do not need certification, however, sooner or later
you might wish you had obtained your officially recognized credentials when you had a chance.
Recognized medical assistant certification exams are available for those who meet certain educational and work
experience requirements as determined by the medical assistant professional membership organizations.