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What is a Medical Assistant?

Medical Assistants go by a variety of names, including Clinical Assistants, Medical Receptionists, Medical Office Assistants, and Administrative Assistants. Some perform medical office duties, yet others provide basic patient care, taking blood pressure, administering injections, and preparing patients for treatment.   

Medical Assisting is a great career move

It’s widely believed that due to the growth of the aging population, the outlook for medical assistant jobs will continue to expand in the coming years, making a medical assisting career a good choice.

  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants will grow 23% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • As of 2014 there were almost 600,000 medical assistants working in the United States. Most work in doctor’s offices. Others work for hospitals, health practitioners, and outpatient care centers.

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So, what tasks do medical assistants perform?

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice. 

As important members of a healthcare team, medical assistants can do the following:

  • Interact with patients to document their medical history and billing information
  • Take vital signs, including pulse rate, blood pressure, and temperature
  • Assist doctors, nurses, and specialists with physical examinations and procedures
  • Give injections
  • Schedule appointments
  • Manage patients’ electronic health records
Patient Privacy

Privacy is a very important concern in healthcare settings. When handling patient medical histories and other private information, medical assistants are required to maintain strict confidentiality.

Electronic Health Records

Over the years, medical offices have begun transitioning from paper records to electronic health records. This change affects medical assistant jobs significantly. It’s critical that medical assistants get trained on electronic health record software and best practices.

Some medical assistants specialize in a particular job function:

Administrative medical assistants conduct medical office duties, handle insurance issues, code medical records, and provide medical billing support. These medical professionals are the face of their offices, helping patients over the phone to answer questions and schedule appointments.

Clinical medical assistants provide basic patient care and are responsible for duties that keep the practice running smoothly. Some perform laboratory tests and sterilize medical instruments. Depending on the workplace, some clinical medical assistants instruct patients about medication, prepare patients for procedures, remove stitches, draw blood, or change dressings.

Often, the duties of a medical assistant will vary based on the nature of the practice where they work. For example, optometric medical assistants work with optometrists to provide basic eye care duties. Podiatric medical assistants help foot doctors. In this capacity, they might make castings of feet and take x-rays.

Fast Track Stop Watch

Train to be a Medical Assistant in about 9 months

With fast-track training from SBBCollege, you can learn the administrative and clinical skills needed to be a medical assistant in less than a year. You’ll be trained to work in a variety of healthcare workplaces, including hospitals, physician offices, and health clinics.

Get on-the-job training

The hands-on medical assisting training at SBBCollege includes on-the-job training through the College’s externship program, where you will go to work in a real healthcare office in your last term before graduating.

Learn more about Medical Assisting training from SBBCollege.  


Source: (retrieved 5/3/17)


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