Medical Assistant Job Description
Medical assistants take direction from physicians while performing clinical and administrative duties, usually within a physician or specialist office or hospital. They may schedule appointments, do billing, perform insurance coding, and maintain medical records. Recording medical histories, taking vital signs, drawing blood, administering medications, and preparing patients for their examinations are some clinical duties a medical assistant may perform. Medical assistant duties vary and are often determined by the specialty of the practitioner and the size and location of the practice.
Medical Assistant Fields.
A Medical Assistant may work in many different fields.However, to be one, one must be a graduate of a course, specializing in the field. But then, what is a medical technician’s job, really ? He has various jobs that he may take, including being a person who works in an x-ray laboratory, dental hygienist, emergency medical response worker, veterinary assistant, surgery helpers, and many other works that he may do, given that it is related to the course that he had taken.
One of the responsibilities of a Medical Assistant is taking the blood of a patient, also called a Dialysis Technician. Dialysis technicians are a type of medical technician which specializes in taking blood samples, and performing dialysis, the removal of waste material in blood. The waste material in the blood has to be removed, as it would make a person sick, especially those with failing kidneys. They operate dialysis machineries and may write reports after a dialysis treatment. They may work in a hospital or in patient’s homes, depending on the patient’s requests.
There are also types of medical technician which work in fire departments or any companies which provides emergency health cares. Called the Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs, they transport patients from the case of accident to the hospital or any place that they may receive medical support. They may perform first-aid treatments and at times, give patients who have severe medical conditions the treatment that they need. It has many levels, depending on the training and experience that the EMT had received.
If an individual is interested in laboratory science, then he may be a Medical Lab Technician. As a medical lab technician, he has to perform tests on the fluids of the body and skin samples, to detect diseases. These technicians have to be skilled in handling laboratory equipment, as any wrong move can cause wrong indication of the illness that the patient has. He must also understand how a chemical works, in order to get the right test results.
The next type of medical technician is Radiology and Ultrasound Technicians. They are technicians which work in x-ray laboratories. Aside from simply doing x-ray tests, they may also work in laboratories which perform CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans. They may also perform ultrasounds, in addition to these.
The last type of medical technician, the surgical technicians, is part of surgical teams which work inside operating rooms. They may prepare the patients before the surgery, be an assistant to the doctor in the actual surgery, and help in transferring patients from the operating room to where he should be going.
There are various jobs that medical technicians may do, but these are the main things that they do. There is a difference between being a technician and a technologist; technicians have finished a two-year degree, while technologists have finished four-year degree courses, and thus, have more in-depth knowledge about the medical field than the technicians. Although both are experienced, medical technologists know more than the technicians.
Medical Assistant Salary Statistics
The mean annual wage for a medical assistant in May 2010 was $29,760, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 523,260 people employed in this occupation at that time, the lowest ten percent of earnings were represented by an annual wage of $20,810, the middle 50 percent earned $28,860 per year, and the highest ten percent made $40,190 annually. Most medical assistants were employed by physician offices. Outpatient care centers, other health care practitioner offices, and surgical and general medical hospitals were other top-employing industries.
Substance abuse and psychiatric hospitals paid the highest medical assistant salaries as of May 2010, offering an annual mean wage of $39,220. Dentist offices, scientific research and development services, and insurance agencies and carriers were additional industries that paid well.
Alaska was the top paying state and District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Hawaii fell into the remaining four slots of top five paying states, respectively. The lowest states, paying an annual mean wage of between $22,960 and $26,030, included Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
Medical Assistant Job Outlook
2008 – 2018 Employment Changes 163,900 new medical assistant jobs 34% increase in employment
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that medical assistant employment will grow much faster than the average between 2008 and 2018. This occupation is expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations during this period, characterized by excellent job opportunities. A 34 percent growth is anticipated due to expansion of the healthcare industry. Medical assistants skilled in both clinical and administrative tasks will find themselves in the highest demand. California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio employed the greatest number of medical assistants as of May 2010.
Medical Assistant Education & Training
Though many medical assistants complete one or two-year educational programs, some only receive on-the-job training. There are no formal training or education requirements for this position, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly all medical assistants possess a minimum of a high school diploma. On an O*Net survey, 41 percent of medical assistant respondents held a high school diploma or equivalent. Some college but no degree was the education level for an additional 37 percent and 22 percent had an associate’s degree.
Vocational-technical high schools, junior colleges, vocational postsecondary schools, and community colleges offer programs for medical assistants. The postsecondary programs are usually diploma or certificate programs that last one year or two-year associate degree programs. Students take science, medical law, accounting, transcription, and insurance processing courses. They also learn first aid, how to administer medications, lab techniques, diagnostic and clinical procedures, and pharmaceutical principles. An internship in a healthcare facility or physician office is often included in programs that are accredited by one of the two medical assistant accrediting bodies.
Though certification is not required, it may improve employment prospects. Several associations, including the Association of Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), provide medical assistant certification. The process to become certified varies by association. Some medical assistants choose to become certified within a specialty such as optometry or podiatry.
States with the Highest Wages
There are many factors that might influence the salary earned by a medical assistant, ranging from the medical assistant’s own level of experience and education to the type of medical office or hospital in question. Another one of the big factors, however, is geography. As with any industry, medical assistant jobs have variable salary ranges from one state to the next.
The state in which medical assistants stand to make the most money is the State of Alaska; here, the annual mean wage is somewhere around $37,750. Again, there are many factors to consider, such as level of training and certification, but, in Alaska, this is the ballpark sum a medical assistant can expect to make. The area with the second greatest annual mean wage is the District of Columbia, where it is $36,790.
Rounding out the top five are Massachusetts, where a medical assistant’s average annual salary is projected at $35,010; Connecticut, where the annual mean wage is $34,290; and, finally, Hawaii, where a medical assistant’s average salary is estimated to be $34,070 per year.
What this means for anyone considering the medical assistant field is that location is important. Doing some research ahead of time, both into salary expectations and job openings, is important for landing somewhere good. Equally important is checking into the difference that different certifications or educational courses might make. All of these factors combine to influence the amount of money you will make working in the medical assistant field.
States with the HIghest Employment Levels
When embarking on a new career path, there are always many factors to take into consideration, and geography is one of them. The city and state in which you live will have a major impact on the employment opportunities that are available to you. Your first instinct might be to think that states with larger populations are going to offer more job openings, and this is a good rule of thumb, but, in the case of the medical assistant field, it is not completely accurate.
A quick survey of the states that offer the most employment opportunities in the medical assistant field reveals that there are typically more jobs in more populous states, though there is some fluctuation here. The state that offers the highest employment level for medical assistants is California, with approximately 83,000 jobs and an annual mean wage of $31,260. After California comes Texas, with 48,030 jobs and an average annual salary of $27,860.
Rounding out the top five are the states of Florida, with 36,660 jobs and an average yearly salary of $28,970; Pennsylvania, where the employment level is 24,390 and the average annual wage is $29,240; and Ohio, with 22,540 jobs and an average annual wage of $27,610.
Of course, geography is not the only thing to consider when choosing a career path. The nature of the work itself, plus any educational requirements, should also be given due consideration. Geography is a major factor, however, when it comes to the amount of money you can expect to make and the number of jobs that will likely be available.
Medical assistants have duties similar to workers in other medical support occupations. Medical secretaries and medical transcriptionist careers are similar to those of medical assistants focusing on administrative work. Medical secretaries perform clerical and administrative tasks necessary for a medical office to run efficiently. Medical transcriptionists transcribe dictated recordings from healthcare professionals into written form for use in medical reports and correspondence.
Dental assistants, surgical technologists, and pharmacy technicians have jobs similar to medical assistants who focus on clinical tasks. A dental assistant performs various laboratory, office, and patient care tasks within a dental office. Surgical technologists provide assistance with surgical operations under surgeon, surgical personnel, or registered nurse supervision. Pharmacy technicians help prepare prescription medications, offer customer service, and perform administrative tasks within a pharmacy.