There are many exciting careers in the medical field. One of them is the position of a medical assistant. There are many things that one is able to do as a medical assistant. Their main duty is to assist, as the title implies, their coworkers, usually doctors and nurses. Their duties can range from medical paperwork to some forms of clinical tasks such as taking vital signs.
The job responsibilities of a medical assistant vary depending on where the assistant is employed. Medical assistants may find employment in hospitals and doctors? offices, and their duties depend on where they are employed. If the medical assistant works at a hospital, chances are that their jobs will be more patient based. They would have to do things such as take vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate), take height and weight measurements, draw blood, do lab tests, give injections, and possibly help doctors with minor surgical procedures. In a clinic or doctors offices, the medical assistant could still do some of those duties in addition to greeting patients, answering phones, keeping medical records, ordering and maintaining supplies within the office, and filling out insurance forms. Medical assistants in hospitals may also be called upon to perform duties such as these. Also, medical assistants may specialize in certain areas such as chiropractor assistant, optometric assistant, and podiatric assistant. . Many of the duties of CMA?s coincide with those of nurses and medical secretaries.
Just as with the responsibilities of a CMA, their co-workers also vary upon location. CMA?s generally work alongside nurses and doctors. However, depending upon location, a CMA could work with a medical secretary, a nurse?s assistant, or public health agent.
There are many characteristics of a qualified CMA. They must have good ?people skills?: Ability with words, good listening and explaining abilities, good telephone skills, good grammar, and an ability to follow specific directions well. In addition, a CMA must have good motor coordination, ability to use hands and fingers well, ability to check written materials accurately, ability to move from one task to another quickly, word processing skills, and an ability to handle several jobs at a time. A medical assistant must also have knowledge of basic anatomy, basic medical skills, first aid, physiology, medical terms and insurance, psychology, and related regulations.
Some of the advantages of being a medical assistant would be that you get to work constantly with other people. You would be able to make life easier for your co-workers, learn about the medical world first hand, and if you are an aspiring medical student, a job as a certified medical assistant would give you great experience on your way to furthering your medical career. You would learn great business as well as communication skills and get paid decent money for it. Finally, the certification to become a CMA doesn?t take very long, and probably will not cost very much.
As with any job there would be some disadvantages to being a CMA. One is that you would not get the same respect as someone higher up on the chain. If you are trying to support a family on a CMA?s career, the salary would be a disadvantage. CMA?s usually work anywhere from forty to forty-five hours per week, which could be a disadvantage if you have children that you want to be home with.
Although certification is not required everywhere, it is required at most locations, and is a definite bonus. You can get certified as a medical assistant at community colleges such as the one that I researched, Clackamas Community College. For certification you need a total of fifty-one credits that can be earned in three terms. For the first term, the required classes are 1) Introduction to human biology, 2) Medical insurance and billing, 3) Survey of computing, 4) Medical Terminology, 5) Medical office practice. During the first term you would earn sixteen credits. For the second term, the required classes are 1) introduction to medications, 2) clinical lab procedures, 3) examination room techniques, 4) Medical office practicum 1, 5) Communication skills: occupational writing, and 6) technical mathematics, for a total of seventeen credits. In the final term, the required classes are 1) Phlebotomy, 2) Medical office practicum II, 3) Clinical lab procedures II, 4) Human development, 5) Psychology of human relations, and 6) Basic speech communication. In addition to these classes, current first aid and CPR certificates are required. These should be taken care of before the third term. This certificate can be earned at Clackamas Community College: 19600 S Molalla Ave. Oregon City, OR 97045-7998.
CMA?s can be employed in a variety of locations, depending on the preferences of the CMA. Facilities that employ CMA?s are physicians and other health practitioners, hospitals, and public health agencies. This is a medium sized career which means that if the medical assistant is certified, he or she should not have too much trouble finding a job. In Oregon, there are approximately 3,400 people working as CMA?s (CIS, p 3). The salary for a beginning CMA is about $9.00/hour. The national average is about $10.00/hour. The only real opportunity for advancement is to get a higher education. Without a higher degree, advances are not normal.
2. Clackamas Community College course catalogue, 1999-2000
3. Occupational Outlook Handbook (p. 318)
4. The complete guide for occupational Exploration (p. 424)