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Medical Assistant Jobs: Outlook, Job Duties and Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant jobs are growing at a much faster than average rate. In 2016, there were approximately 634,400 people employed as medical assistants. By 2026, there are going to be an additional estimated 184,600 medical assistant jobs available.1

The reason for this increase can be attributed to the aging population of the United States. With the baby boom population getting older, there is a need for additional skilled medical professionals to assist doctors with administrative and clinical duties, allowing them to see more patients and provide more thorough care.2

What do Medical Assistants do?

Medical assistants are primarily employed in medical offices and clinics, but medical assistant jobs are also found in other settings, such as hospitals.

Medical assistants are unique in that they are trained to handle both administrative and clinical duties, making them an indispensable part of any medical team. Depending on state law and the requirements of the job, duties can vary from one medical assistant job to another.

Common administrative duties include:

    • Scheduling and receiving patients
    • Performing basic administrative skills
    • Handling telephone calls and writing correspondence
    • Serving as a liaison between the physician and other individuals
    • Managing practice finances

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In addition to these administrative duties, medical assistants are trained to perform many clinical duties that are crucial to providing quality medical care.

Clinical duties may include:

    • Preparing and maintaining electronic medical records
    • Asepsis and infection control
    • Taking patient histories and vital signs
    • Performing first aid and CPR
    • Preparing patients for procedures
    • Assisting the physician with examinations and treatments
    • Collecting and processing specimens
    • Performing selected diagnostic tests
    • Preparing and administering medications as directed by the physician

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Do I have what it takes to be a medical assistant?

With the wide variety of tasks performed by medical assistants, it is easy to see that an individual needs a specific skill set to perform medical assistant jobs. Training programs, such as the Multi-Skilled Medical Assistant program at Helms College, can provide individuals with the knowledge necessary to perform medical assistant duties, but there are also personal characteristics that make for a good medical assistant.

Important traits of medical assistants include:

    1. Grace under pressure
    2. Attention to detail
    3. Excellent problem-solving skills
    4. Independence
    5. Good communication skills
    6. Ability to think on your feet
    7. Excellent writing skills
    8. Social savvy
    9. Integrity
    10. Compassion and empathy

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With these traits and the appropriate training, individuals are more than prepared to fill the many medical assistant jobs that are going to be available in the coming years.

What does it take to become a Medical Assistant?

Depending on the program, medical assistant programs can grant associates degrees, certificates or diplomas. Most medical assistant programs require applicants to have either a high school diploma or an equivalent.

Curriculums must include training in the following areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Psychology
  • Communication
  • Medical assisting administrative procedures
  • Medical assisting clinical procedures

Programs also require students to receive hands-on training through practical experience in medical offices, hospitals, or other health facilities.6

Why is the multi-skilled medical assistant program at Helms College a good fit?

Helms College is a nonprofit career college that specializes in hospitality and health services. Helms College aims to give every student a “personalized, transformative educational experience.”7 It offers three different medical career paths, including the Multi-Skilled Medical Assistant program.

The 60-credit hour program is designed to not only provide graduates with the entry-level skills needed to obtain medical assistant jobs, but also to gain specialized certifications. Helms College prides itself on its small class sizes, welcoming environment, and knowledgeable staff.

Helms College is welcoming of students from all backgrounds and recognizes that students have unique needs. They are prepared to assist students with GED training and preparation, tutoring, study skills training, basic computer classes and English for students of other languages.

If you are looking for a career in a field that is growing quickly, demonstrate characteristics such as compassion and empathy, and want to obtain your education at a college that is responsive to individual needs and passionate about the education provided to all students, apply to Helms College today.

Helms College is also an excellent resource for veterans who wish to pursue medical assistant jobs. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, up to 100 percent of tuition and fees can be paid for veterans who served in active duty post September 10, 2001. For more information about eligibility requirements, visit the Helms College veterans website.

  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm
  3. https://www.caahep.org/Students/Program-Info/Medical-Assisting.aspx
  4. https://www.caahep.org/Students/Program-Info/Medical-Assisting.aspx
  5. https://www.rwm.org/articles/qualities-good-medical-assistant/
  6. https://www.caahep.org/Students/Program-Info/Medical-Assisting.aspx
  7. https://www.helms.edu/