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17 Must Have Medical Assistant Skills
Medical assistants play a big role in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the job will grow 19% over the next few years, much faster than the occupational average...

Medical Assistants skills play a big role in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the job will grow 19% over the next few years, much faster than the occupational average. The medical staff ensures that the operations of the medical team run smoothly. They also act as extra hands needed by nurses and doctors. Physician assistants are like the foundation of every medical facility. If you are considering a future as a medical assistant, you must be prepared.

The best medical assistants demonstrate several skills in the healthcare field. They are compassionate, loyal, cheerful, knowledgeable, and detail oriented. The role of a medical assistant is multidimensional as they involve both the clinical and administrative aspects. They must have laboratory and clinical skills, as well as interpersonal skills, to be able to collaborate with other staff and patients.

Ready for a career as a medical assistant? Here are a few must-have skills that you'll need to be an excellent medical assistant:


It is essential to have strong communication skills when working with patients, doctors, and nurses. You will need to be an active listener and pay attention to instructions and other concerns. It is also crucial to relay medical information clearly and concisely. You must articulate instructions plainly to patients and communicate information effectively in writing and orally with other healthcare professionals who work with patients.

Computer Skills

Several administrative tasks require the secure handling of computers. With many healthcare practices utilizing EHRs (Electronic Health Records), computer literacy is one of the most critical skills for physician assistants. Medical assistants work with various office software programs like spreadsheets, databases, graphic presentation software, and word processing. Physicians are often too busy to respond to emails or research something online and could rely on their assistants to handle the task if they are not too computer savvy.

Organizational Skills

Medical offices have many moving parts, from complex schedules to thousands of patient records and billing. Without a good organization, the office does not run smoothly, and the consequences can be severe. Poor organization can lead to billing errors, prescription or dosing errors, or even incorrectly coded diagnoses or procedures.

Clerical Skills

Having strong clerical skills can pay dividends in your new career. Medical assistants may be required in a busy office to answer phone calls, respond to texts and emails, schedule appointments, collect and record payments, and archive and access patient records. Medical assistants may also need to fill out insurance forms, contact insurance companies, track inventory, and order supplies.

Customer Service

The job of a medical assistant requires excellent customer service skills to guide and support others. The medical assistant takes care of the patient directly at the reception, defends the patient with his health insurance company, and coordinates the clinic's schedule.


Managing a physician's schedule may be the most complicated of all the office duties of a medical assistant. Medical assistants need to know how much time to allocate for each type of visit and determine if other treatments, like drawing blood, must be planned. If the doctor has an emergency, the medical assistant may need to call the patient or reschedule the appointment.

Medical Knowledge

Medical assistants should be familiar with medical terminology, anatomy, and basic procedures, like drawing blood and wound care. Knowledge of first aid and CPR may also be required.


Whether a patient is battling an untreated disease or a nurse is battling a medical device, problem-solving skills can mean the difference between life and death. Medical assistants who can think ahead and act quickly prove to be vital cogs in their healthcare facility's machine.

Stress Management

Stress management is one of the fundamental skills that develop over time. No one is born trained to deal with all the negativity that burns in their minds. However, many people learn to develop the ability to handle highly stressful situations. As a physician assistant, you may encounter unfavorable remarks, an angry patient, or a phone appointment that takes too long.


Confident medical assistants are considered professionals, not beginners. Because they are confident in their abilities, it is easy for patients to feel confident in their work and believe in them. Your confidence shows how much you know about your job. It strengthens your relationship with your client or patient and enables you to teach by example. Patients take your word for it because they know you have a solid understanding of the subject.

Sound Judgment

For medical assistants to perform their duties effectively, they must exercise sound judgment. The more experienced their decisions are, the more valid and valuable they will be. Medical assistants often work without much guidance, so they must make informed decisions without supervision.


Medical administrative assistants should perform their duties competently and reliably and gain the respect and trust of their superiors. Physicians expect administrative assistants to perform all tasks competently and effectively.


As crucial as problem-solving, working with your team of healthcare professionals to find these patient care solutions is also important. If you have no problem collaborating with others, you may find this skill comes naturally to you.


Medical assistants are expected to keep all patient information confidential so that patients feel safe with them. You should not discuss personal patient information with friends, family, or colleagues. While this may seem easy for some, it can be hard to keep from discussing your work with a loved one at the end of a stressful day. It's important not to divulge too many details, or you could face trouble down the road.

Listening Skills

Working as a medical assistant involves listening to many patients and their families throughout the day, so assistants should be patient and listen carefully to essential instructions. Sometimes it's better to be quiet and listen than talk. As an M.A., you'll know when the time is right.


An important part of working in healthcare is the ability to understand others and demonstrate empathy. You may often need to hear complaints from patients or even colleagues. Working in a place of love, kindness, respect, and sensitivity will be invaluable to your position as a physician assistant.

Commitment to Learn

The medical industry is constantly developing, and those who do not adapt to the changes are eventually eliminated. Leverage discovery and technology to ensure you stay ahead of complex concepts as they arise. Top medical assistant programs emphasize learning ability. It is your commitment to learning that will unlock your hidden potential.