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Why Career Opportunities For Medical Assistants Are on the Move

By Colin McLean

What are the responsibilities of a medical assistant?

Career opportunities for medical assisting professionals continue to grow because people will always be in need of health care services. A well-trained health care provider is able to work in a doctor's office, clinic, or virtually anywhere where medical services are administered.

The responsibilities of medical assisting personnel are valued in both clinical and administrative capacities. Reporting is usually to a doctor, office manager, or health practitioner. Medical assistants, though invaluable, should never be confused with a physician's assistant, who is able to examine and diagnose a patient under the direct supervision of a physician.

A day-in-the-life for the majority of healthcare professionals is never dull. There are endless insurance forms to be filled out; medical records that need updating, and admissions and laboratory services that need to be documented every hour of the day. Other office duties include answering telephones, making sure correspondence is current, scheduling patient appointments, and handling bookkeeping and billing requirements.

Where are medical assistants employed?

On the clinical side, medical assistants will quite often document medical histories, record patient vital signs, discuss medical procedures, and prepare patients for medical examinations. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics places more than half of all medical assistants in the offices of physicians, while the remaining percentage of industry professionals' work as health practitioners in the offices of chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists.*

Trained and qualified healthcare professionals place themselves in a position to be ready, depending on personal education and experience, when industry openings occur. Like any career field, job success is a derivative of personal drive, education, local market conditions, and one's own work attitude.

As the population ages and more and more people live lifestyles that increase longevity, there is a natural tendency for the aging to be health minded and seek medical attention either routinely, or in medical emergencies.

What are the qualifications needed to work as a medical assistant?

Programs, post-secondary, are offered at such educational institutions as vocational schools and colleges. Certificate and diploma programs are usually for one year, but may last for two years. In today's world, there are a lot of employment opportunities for individuals with the right industry-focused training and professional experience under their belts.

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm (visited May 21, 2013). Your own hard work, professionalism, experience, work attitude, local market data and other factors can impact your personal employment opportunities and pay.


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