MEDICAL ASSISTANT: Definition, Duties, Salary, & Time Frame

Medical Assistant
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Medical assistant, who undertake the administrative and clinical duties necessary to care for patients, are the foundation of medical institutions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Assisting both patients and medical professionals, medical assistants are essential in the healthcare sector. They help with routine medical duties including taking vital signs, giving drugs as prescribed by a doctor, or compiling a patient’s medical history. Read below for more overview of medical assistants.

Medical Assistant 

In hospitals, physician offices, medical clinics, and other facilities, a medical assistant is in charge of everything from administrative work to patient and physician support duties. They could assist with taking a patient’s vital signs or gathering information about their medical history. The requirements of the facility or practice will determine the extent of their job. By making appointments, processing paperwork, and billing insurance, they also assist with the administrative side of medical clinics.

A much faster route than obtaining a medical or nursing degree is to become a medical assistant. Typically, those pursuing a nursing degree must complete at least four years of postsecondary education, whereas doctors must complete 12 or more years to obtain their medical degree. However, medical assistants only need a high school diploma, and in some cases, they must complete a medical assistant program to become certified medical assistants (CMAs). On-the-job training is actually a great way to complete a lot of the requirements to become a medical assistant.

Medical Assistant Job Description 

We are looking to hire a medical assistant to help with administrative tasks at our hospital. If you are hired, you will be in charge of gathering patient data and test results, organizing daily administrative activities, setting up examination rooms, and supporting our doctors while they perform medical operations.

You must possess at least one to two years of prior experience working in a medical setting in addition to certification from a medical assistant training program in order to be successful in this position. You will greatly benefit from having a basic awareness of medical terminology and patient care.

Medical Assistant Responsibilities

  • Gathering and documenting patient medical histories, vital signs, test results, and other information for medical records while upholding strict confidentiality.
  • Coordinating the day-to-day administrative tasks, such as scheduling, checking in and outpatients, and keeping track of their medical records.
  • Preparing treatment areas for clinical evaluations and aiding medical professionals with procedures and other patient care.
  • Providing patients and their families with empathetic support, care, and help.
  • Ensuring adherence to all health care rules, such as HIPAA and OSHA.
  • Making and administering patients’ medications as prescribed by doctors.

Medical Assistant Requirements

  • Military medical corpsman certification.
  • Experience in a medical context of one to two years.
  • Possess a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent qualification.
  • A fundamental understanding of clinical pharmacology, acceptable coding practices, Medical Terminology, and patient care for the medical assistant’s professional area.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, organizational, and customer service abilities.
  • Knowledge of electronic medical record systems.

Salary of Medical Assistant 

How much will a medical assistant make per hour in 2023? In 2023, the national average hourly pay for medical assistants will be $17.75. This is 34% less than the national average hourly wage for all occupations in the US. (To get this number, divide the average annual wage for all jobs, $56,310, by 2,087, the average number of hours worked in a year, as reported by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.) In their fifth year of employment, medical assistants typically attain this income threshold. This average hourly rate is 27 percent less than a medical assistant with at least twenty years of experience, but it is 37 percent higher than the salary paid to someone just entering the field.

Medical assistants make almost $2.50 more per hour than the current $7.25 federal minimum wage. If the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which is presently before Congress, is approved, the federal minimum wage will immediately increase to $9.50 an hour, and the average income for medical assistants will increase to 1.86 times the federal minimum wage.

The hourly wage for a medical assistant is modest when compared to other occupations in the healthcare industry. This most likely has a lot to do with how easy it is to enter the field: Medical assistants have few formal educational requirements, and studies reveal a strong relationship between education and income potential. The educational requirements for registered nurses, with whom medical assistants share the most professional responsibilities, might be used as a comparison. While it is still possible to become a registered nurse in two years by obtaining an associate degree in nursing, the vast majority of employers now favor nurses who have completed four-year programs.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Assistant 

The time frame of medical assistant training varies, with many certificate programs requiring roughly a year to finish. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that associate degrees in medical assisting normally take two years to complete. There are also choices that are shorter. The five to six months it takes to finish Franklin University’s 100% online medical assistant program Since the program is self-paced, students may take longer to finish it in order to juggle their academic work with other personal and professional obligations. 

What Is the Difference Between a Medical Assistant and a Doctor? 

Within the healthcare sector, there are two unique positions: a medical assistant and a doctor. While a doctor is primarily involved in patient care, a medical assistant concentrates on clinical and administrative duties. 

The abilities of a medical assistant allow them to carry out both office and clinical tasks. These abilities are comparable to those of a clinical nurse. From admission to discharge, medical assistants help with all aspects of patient care. It is your responsibility as a medical assistant to ensure that the patient receives effective and satisfying care. then. You analyze the health and medical histories of patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, identify illnesses and injuries, administer first aid, and write prescriptions as a doctor. A doctor can also serve in rural areas as a public health assistants due to the versatility of their positions.

What Is the Most Important Role of a Medical Assistant?

Updated patient medical records is one of your most crucial duties as a medical assistant. In a computer database, you will input the patient’s height, weight, blood pressure, and pre-exam interview responses. Additionally, you might be in charge of organizing patient medical records and including handwritten notes from doctors or nurses about examinations and any lab tests.

A medical assistant must be an excellent listener. Medical assistants provide an understanding ear for patients, who may be there for a normal checkup or because they’re battling a chronic illness, whether they see them once a year or multiple times a month.

Additionally, medical assistants use other kinds of technology. On the clinical side, they do laboratory testing and employ medical tools like EKG technology. On the administrative side, they use video for telehealth patient appointments, applications for checking patients in, and scheduling tools.

Is a Medical Assistant Equivalent to a Nurse? 

Registered nurses and medical assistants frequently work in the same places, such as private clinics, hospitals, and outpatient facilities. After all, both medical assistants and registered nurses play critical roles in enhancing patients’ experiences, their levels of short- and long-term care, and the overall effectiveness of a healthcare facility when it comes to assisting physicians in ensuring optimal care for patients of all types.

Thus, when it comes to clinical “back-office” tasks directly related to patient care, registered nurses and medical assistants frequently work in the same setting. The degree of patient care that each profession is able to offer differs significantly between the two professions. In particular, medical assistants typically spend more time with scheduling, clerical, and billing duties, whereas nurses primarily concentrate on patient care.

What Are the Job Duties of a Medical Assistant? 

Their job duties include:

  • Keeping medical records
  • Educating patients on the therapy process
  • Getting patients ready for exams
  • Aiding the doctor during examinations
  • Gathering and getting lab samples ready
  • Carrying out fundamental laboratory tests
  • Patient education regarding medications and special diets
  • Preparing and giving drugs, such as those given intravenously, or intradermally, as well as administering shots or other immunizations as ordered by a doctor or another licensed professional (such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant).
  • Sending pharmaceutical refill requests as instructed
  • Phlebotomy
  • Electrocardiograms are performed.
  • Maintaining wounds and changing dressings

What Position Is Higher Than a Medical Assistant? 

A bachelor’s degree in health administration or management is a popular choice for individuals who begin their studies as medical assistants to continue their education. Graduates of healthcare management programs can pursue advanced positions in a range of clinical settings as well as in the insurance, healthcare policy, finance, and information management sectors of the healthcare industry.

According to the BLS, enterprises are increasingly in need of healthcare managers to plan, direct, and coordinate health services. Between 2021 and 2031, they forecast a 28 percent increase in employment for managers of medical and health services. According to BLS statistics, medical services managers typically earn $119,840 a year ($57.61 an hour).

What Is Equivalent to a Medical Assistant? 

Even though working as a medical assistant is a great career choice for many reasons, it might not be the best fit for everyone. Each person has unique talents and abilities, some of which might be better suited for particular professional paths. If you are now a medical assistant, you may be thinking about changing careers. You might want to experiment or look for new employment opportunities in the healthcare industry, which includes the following careers:

  • Phlebotomist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Medical Claims Examiner 
  • Nursing Assistant 
  • Medical Office Assistant 
  • EKG Technician 
  • Surgical Technologist 
  • Home Health Aide

What Is the Abbreviation for a Medical Assistant?

Searching for MA abbreviations? medical assistant is what it is. An MA is a medical assistant.


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