Should you decide to become a medical assistant, you should be able to perform both administrative and clinical jobs to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners operating smoothly. A medical assistant is an allied health professional. The duties of a medical assistant range in every office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner’s specialty. In a small practice, medical assistants usually perform many tasks, handling both administrative and clinical duties and typically reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner.
Medical assistants who work in larger practices tend to specialize in one particular area, under the direct supervision of department administrators. A medical assistant should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.
As a medical assistant you will work in well lit clean environments. As part of the job to become a medical assistant students need to constantly interact with other people and may have to handle several tasks at once. A medical assistant may also take vital signs, phlebotomy (drawing blood from patients to collect specimens for lab tests), do medical billing and other duties as required. Most full-time medical assistants work the regular 40-hour week. However, medical assistants may work part time, evenings, or weekend
Become a Medical Assistant With Training
Medical assistant programs are usually offered in vocational-technical high schools, post secondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Post secondary programs usually last either 1 year and can possibly produce a certification as a medical assistant or diploma, or 2 years and result in an associate degree. Usually, a medical assistant will hold at the minimum a high school diploma and have to pass an exam given through the American Association of Medical Assistants to gain certification as either a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).
Courses cover anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as keyboarding, transcription, record keeping, accounting, and insurance processing when training to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants can become certified through an accredited program typically offered via a community college both online or on-campus. It is not a requirement for Medical assistants to be certified, but doing so may help you with future employment.
Medical Assistant Jobs On The Rise
As the health care industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the aging of the population, there will be a greater than before need to become a medical assistant. The increasing popularity of certain conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, also will enlarge the demand for healthcare services and the medical assistant. Increasing the use of a medical assistants to allow doctors to care for more patients will further inspire job growth in the future.
Transition to a RN
To transition from a medical assistant to registered nurse, you must hold a high school diploma or a GED. A knowledge of biology, anatomy and physiology will be very useful. The per-requisites vary depending on different schools and the programs they offer. You may be able to transfer some of your classes as a Medical Assistant to your pursuit of a degree in nursing.
It may also be useful to decide to not transfer these credits, as you will likely cover the same topics in more depth with a focus on critical thinking skills. To practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) at the very minimum. This takes two to three years of study. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) usually takes four years to complete at a college or university.
Your coursework will prepare you to work in any healthcare setting as a new grad nurse. There are also accelerated bachelor of nursing programs that can be completed in 11-18 months for students who hold a non-nursing related degree. Students who choose an accelerated program will complete the same number of clinical hours in practicum as other students. Here is a list of accelerated nursing programs in the US from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing here. Once you complete a ADN or BSN, you should visit the Nation Council of States Board of Nursing to figure out next steps to obtain a license to practice as a RN in the US and Canada. Good luck on your journey to becoming a registered nurse!
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