Medical Assistant Degrees
Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, and should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician. Administrative medical assistants
update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and bookkeeping. Clinical medical assistants
have various duties, depending on State law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories, recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures, and assisting physicians during examinations. They can collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests. As directed by a physician, they might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications, draw blood, prepare patients for x-rays, take electrocardiograms, and remove sutures.
•Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 decade. Job prospects should be excellent.
•About 62 percent of medical assistants work in offices of physicians.
•Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1-year or 2-year programs.