Medical assistants work with patients and help doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, and the demand for them is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 184K new jobs will be created in this field by 2026, a growth rate of around 29 percent. Most work in doctors’ offices, followed by hospitals.
What Are Medical Assistants?
Medical assistants are the people who first see you when you visit your doctor. Job responsibilities vary by the facility and practice, but most medical assistants perform an array of clerical and clinical duties. They take and record your blood pressure, pulse, height, and weight. They may even take your temperature, and if it’s necessary, they check your blood sugar level.
If you're considering going to school to become a medical assistant, you may be wondering just what kind of subjects you'll be studying and what type of training you'll receive.
What You Will Learn
While every program is slightly different, most include coursework in natural sciences such as biology and anatomy, basic patient care, communication skills, healthcare record keeping and bookkeeping, the basics of medical insurance, and basic laboratory procedures and protocols. In addition to classroom work, you'll have an opportunity to do supervised work in an actual clinical setting, working with patients and healthcare professionals.
Most medical assistant training programs last for nine months to one year. At the end, you’ll get a certificate of completion. As a whole, it’s easier to find employment with a certificate, but some offices do offer on-the-job training.
According to BLS, the average medical assistant in the United States can expect to make an average salary of over $32K per year. However, salaries vary widely depending on your area of the country and on what type of healthcare facility you work in.
A Helping Profession
If you’re interested in making this career your own, go after it. You’ll get to make lives better every day, and that's worth going to work for.