Medical Assisting Career|
When people think of careers in medicine, they typically conjure up images of professionals such as physicians, dentists, surgeons, and optometrists. While these are very rewarding careers, they involve huge educational, financial, and time commitments. Medical assisting is an alternative career path that requires significantly less schooling yet still allows you the satisfaction of knowing you are making a true difference in the lives of patients.
As a medical assistant, you are a valuable member of a complete medical team that works together to provide patients with quality, comprehensive health care. Your job duties vary depending on your employer and the types of patients you are responsible for on a particular day. Typical tasks include taking patients' vitals, collecting laboratory specimens such as blood and urine samples, helping patients get ready for examinations and procedures, changing dressings, and taking medical histories of new patients. Some employers also require medical assistants to handle more administrative tasks, such as answering phones and filling out insurance paperwork.
Medical assistants work in many different health care settings, ranging from primary care clinics to hospitals. The setting can have an impact on the types of duties an assistant must perform. For example, a medical assistant in an optometrist's office may perform basic eye chart exams, while a medical assistant in a gynecologist's office may regularly perform pregnancy tests.
To become a medical assistant, you must first obtain your high school diploma or GED. Then, to maximize your appeal to employers, you should enroll in a formal medical assisting program. Such programs are typically offered at vocational and technical colleges, and they are also sometimes available through some larger colleges and universities. These programs usually take either one or two years to complete. Certifications and diplomas tend to require one year of classes, while an associate's degree takes about two years to earn. Coursework in these programs relates to topics including anatomy, physiology, medical billing, and insurance processing.
Medical assistants are dedicated professionals with a desire to help others. A career in medical assisting is a great and time-efficient option for individuals with a passion for the medical field.
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