How remunerative a Medical Assistant career could be? A career in the healthcare industry is no longer out of reach if one does not make it to a medical school, with job prospects for health-care support workers at an all-time high in the recent years. Medical assisting, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics,( is one of the fastest growing careers in the country.
A medical assistant is one who works alongside physicians, podiatrists, opticians and chiropractors, performing administrative and clinical duties to ensure smooth running of the offices and clinics. From routine data-entry to specialized patient care, medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical duties.
Most employers prefer to hire a medical assistant with formal training from vocational-technical schools, community and junior colleges, and colleges and universities. A certificate in medical assistance requires a training period of one year, while an associate degree is offered by some institutes after two years’ worth of education. Condensed training program with short duration (four to five months) are also available (visit
The students must complete an intensive coursework comprising of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, medical bookkeeping, pharmacological concepts and interpretation of diagnostic procedures. The students are taught how to deal with the administrative aspect of the job as they are apprised of medical insurance processing, office practices, typing and transcription, medical record coding and inter-personal communication. Clinical learning involves history taking and evaluation of vital signs, administration of drugs and first aid, and practical application of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Most schools provide an opportunity for externship with a physician’s office or at a general hospital as part of their curriculum, which allows the student to gain essential on-the-job training. On clearing a certification examination, a medical assistant is likely to find employment at physicians’ offices, medical and surgical hospitals (both private and state facilities), ambulatory health-care services, clinics of alternative health practitioners like chiropractors, medical and diagnostic laboratories, nursing care facilities and even retirement communities.
Medical assistants held around 584,970 jobs across the country in 2014 while the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics determined the median annual wages to be $30,515 in May 2015. A projected employment growth of 23 percent from 2014 to 2024 with as many as 138,000 new jobs implies medical assistance is one of the fastest growing careers in the nation due to technological advancements, a large proportion of ageing population and a surge in the number of outpatient care facilities and private physician practices.
As with many other professions, the pay depends on level of expertise, experience and job location. While an entry-level CMA (certified medical assistant) earns from anywhere between $20,500 and $30,448, someone with an experience of seven years or more can earn up to $41,600 annually. Medical assistants mostly hold full-time jobs but flexible scheduling is not unheard of.
The responsibilities depend mostly on office size, location and specialty. While medical assistants are expected to handle both administrative and clinical duties in small or medium-sized practices and report directly to the physician, they often specialize in a particular area of work in larger practices.
Medical assistants may further progress their career by transitioning into licensed practical nurses or learning coding to earn higher salaries while still being in the administrative realm of their job.
An analytical outlook, good communication skills and an eye for details is absolutely essential to succeed as a medical assistant. With job security, lucrative salaries, high employment potential and endless opportunities to progress their careers in the health-care sector, medical assistants have a dynamic future in the field of healthcare services.