If you're looking for a rewarding profession in the medical field, consider becoming a medical assistant. A medical assistant (or MA) job is a terrific first step toward a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. If a career in the medical field sounds appealing to you, but you're not quite sure what aspect of health care you want to focus on, a medical assistant is the perfect starting point. Attending a medical assistant school can get you prepared for a career with plenty of advancement possibilities.
A medical assistant plays a diverse role in modern health care. Medical assistants are in demand at all kinds of healthcare facilities, from larger public hospitals with hundreds of patients to smaller, specialized clinics with one or two physicians. Depending on the facility, a medical assistant may be referred to as a clinical assistant, healthcare assistant, or a different title. The roles and responsibilities of an MA differ based on the work environment, but generally, their primary function is to provide physicians and patients with clinical and administrative support. Medical assistants typically aid physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other health professionals in a clinical setting. They can also schedule appointments, help maintain records, and provide telephone support for staff. As a medical assistant, you bridge the gap between the medical unit and the administrative offices.
Certified medical assistants are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for MAs at 19 percent through 2029, with more than 135,000 new medical assistant jobs. Both figures are higher than most job growth averages. The salary for a certified medical assistant can vary greatly, depending on several factors. The pay is good, but being a medical assistant requires hard work, dedication, and proper training at an Austin medical assistant school offering a certification.
What you do on a day-to-day basis will vary depending on where you work. The size and location of the healthcare facility, the number of accommodated patients, and the specialization of the clinic and its physicians will largely determine your everyday responsibilities.
On the administrative side of things, you may be tasked with answering phone calls, responding to emails and other online inquiries, updating forms and medical records, answering patient questions, relaying lab results to patients and physicians, and performing clerical tasks. Medical assistants can also file insurance forms and work with insurers on billing and coding.
Clinical responsibilities involve caring for patients and helping physicians, nurses, and other staff with various duties. This can include preparing treatment rooms for examinations, sterilizing equipment, explaining procedures to patients, taking and recording vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, providing prescription requests to pharmacies, and administering medication. Medical assistants can also remove sutures, administer injections (vaccinations), and collect blood, tissue, saliva, and other specimens for laboratory testing. This is why it is important to attend an Austin medical assistant school that offers hands on instruction in order to become certified.
You'll also need to possess excellent interpersonal skills. A big part of the job is working closely with those who need your help the most. Sometimes that means taking the lead, communicating, and directing staff, while other times, it means listening, following directions, and lending a helping hand. You will sharpen these skills over time as you work with staff and patients. You will also know basic medical skills to save lives in an emergency. These skills can help your future career path and your daily life.
As a medical assistant, you'll work with physicians in the examination room. Initially, you will greet the patient, answer any questions they might have, and ensure all the proper forms have been completed. You will check the patient's vital signs and review everything the physician needs to know. When the physician arrives, your primary responsibility is to assist them and ensure the visit goes smoothly. After the physician completes their visit, you will wrap things up with the patient and send them on their way. The quality of care provided by a medical assistant can often be a critical factor in the patient's overall satisfaction with their visit since the MA is often the main point of contact for them. A good Austin medical assistant school helps you understand what is expected of you in the workplace no matter what type of healthcare career path you decide to take.
As Americans get older, the need for quality health care continues to rise, and medical assistants are one of the most in-demand positions in the industry. New and emerging healthcare facilities need medical assistants for various positions, as physicians who hire more medical assistants can see more patients on average. The salary for a medical assistant is considerably higher than the national average, and continuing education and experience can lead to further compensation and added benefits.
Many working professionals have crafted a happy, fulfilling career as an MA. It is a stable career path with low turnover and low unemployment. All cities have healthcare facilities, so it's easier to find employment closer to home, or you can move to the destination of your dreams and secure a career there.
As a certified medical assistant, you can open the door to boundless opportunities if you're looking to climb the job ladder and advance your career. Many medical assistants become office managers or transfer to another healthcare field for new challenges. As a medical assistant, your work will never be monotonous or sedentary. MAs are constantly on the go, working hard and making things happen.
If you want to become a medical assistant, you will first need to obtain a high school diploma or GED. From there, you can attend medical assistant school at an award-winning school like Austin Career Institute. ACI's nationally accredited 10-month diploma program gives you the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain an entry-level position as a medical assistant.
Your tuition to ACI could be offset by a grant, federal student aid, or other sources of assistance. The US government provides over $100 billion in federal student aid annually to fund tuition, books, supplies, and other necessities. You can begin applying for financial aid by filing a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many ACI students qualify.
To get started with ACI, visit the school's website and complete the inquiry form, or call the admissions office at (512) 371-0100. From there, an admissions representative will contact you. Campus tours are available, where you can see, touch, and feel the equipment you'll be working with, and you can review program details and have all your questions answered. Upon acceptance at ACI, you'll begin your coursework on the next start date. Classes start every month.