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What is a Medical Assistant?

– Posted in: FAQ's

what is a medical assistantThis is a common question from those who are considering entering the healthcare field. Sometimes unfortunately the term “medial assistant” gets used in vague ways that only leads to confusion. But make no mistake about it. A medial assistant is a trained healthcare professional with specific responsibilities and a key member of any heath delivery team.

Career Specialties

For medical assistants you will find many of them trained in various specialties. Two of the most common career specialties are the clinical medical assistant and the administrative medial assistant. Both of these career fields have specific training and certification requirements and more importantly they each have specific roles and duties in the healthcare field.

But these aren’t the only two career fields you can choose. On the more administrative side you could pursue a career as a billing and coding specialist. As this area becomes more and more complex the need for specialists who can handle this essential role will be more in demand. On the clinical side you may want to specialize as medical lab assistant, medical technologist or phlebotomist. All of these specialties will be in growing demand over the coming years as our healthcare needs expand.

Work Environment

Whatever specialty you choose to pursue, you can expect to work in a variety healthcare delivery settings. Medical assistants usually work in physician practice offices, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare delivery facilities. Depending on your specialty, you may be working in hospital labs or independent clinical diagnostic faculties.

Training and Certification

All medical assistants are professionals. To succeed you need the right training and education. And in more and more cases you need to be certified. A quick look at open job opportunities shows that most prospective employers are looking for certified medical assistants. Yes it is possible to your training on the job. But today this is not what you want to do. Get the right training, get certified in your chosen specialty and you will set yourself up for better job opportunities with higher pay and better benefits.

Take the time to select the right program for you. There are generally two ways to go. There are both classroom training programs and online training programs. One may be more suitable than the other for your particular situation. Make sure that the program you choose is an accredited program. This will allow you to sit for the certification exam – either the CMA or other certification program for the specialty you choose.

What is a medical assistant? It is a trained healthcare professional that is an important part of all healthcare delivery services. Choosing this career can put you on the road to a very satisfying career by helping people get the healthcare they need.


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