Because of the government's thrust in improving the quality of services accorded to citizens, the need for more people working in the medical industry is ever growing. Aside from this, with people becoming more conscious about their health and the number of people getting sick, the requirement for additional medical assistants to help doctors manage their work is increasing.
So, what are the main duties and responsibilities of these health professionals?
Typically, assistants aide physicians in various tasks that include front office, administrative, and clinical responsibilities.
Front Desk Tasks. The assistant is the first person a patient sees during doctor's appointments. They welcome patients and hand out registration forms for them to fill out. In cases when a patient is required to come back for a routine check-up, the assistant arranges the patient's appointment depending on the doctor's availability. Aside from scheduling appointments, the assistant also answers phone calls and performs other data entry tasks.
Administrative Tasks. A medical assistant is also expected to perform clerical tasks that involve organizing all patient medical documents and records, coordinating with insurance companies, responding to billing concerns, recording all information about supplies and equipment purchased, and maintenance of the clinic's financial records and other accounting tasks.
Clinical Tasks. Aside from clerical responsibilities, assistants may also be required to perform some clinical duties that include application or changing dressings, collection of urine samples to be sent for diagnosis, and observing patient's health (if working in a hospital) and reporting the results to the physician.
Required Educational Background
The minimal educational requirement to get into an medical assisting program is a high school diploma. Programs for this type of job are available in vocational schools, community colleges, technical schools, and universities, and can be completed within a period of one year. These certificate courses can lead to an associate's degree in medical assisting, offered and can be completed within two years.
Although graduating from CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program) accredited programs or school is not mandatory, still there are States that prefer graduates from reputable and accredited schools.
In addition, these health professionals are not required to undergo any licensing tests to begin working in hospitals or clinics although there are recognized certifications for medical assistants, including Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). Passing these any of these certification exams, although not a prerequisite, strengthens an applicant's chances of being hired as it shows one's dedication and expertise on his chosen field.
When it comes to salary, medical aides generally receive from $20,000-$40,000 per year depending on experience. For those who are just starting their career, salary could even be lower than $20,000, while those who have been working in this capacity for years and with more complex responsibilities can command up to $50,000 annually.
With this knowledge in hand, prospective students and career shifters can now make a decision whether this career is for them or not.