MEDICAL ASSISTANTS perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep physicians offices running smoothly. They answer phones and greet patients. They maintain patient medical records, fill out insurance forms, and handle correspondence. They schedule appointments and arrange for hospital admissions and lab services. They may purchase and maintain supplies and equipment. They take medical histories and record vital signs, and explain treatments to patients. They prepare patients for exam, and assist physician during exam. They collect and prepare lab specimens or perform basic lab tests in the office, and sterilize instruments.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $32,500 average per year ($15.50 per hour)
- A large occupation (570,600 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (3.2% per year)
Employers prefer to hire MEDICAL ASSISTANTS who are graduates of formal programs in medical assisting. These programs are offered in vo-tec schools, community and junior colleges, and in colleges and universities. Programs last either one year, leading to a certificate or diploma, or two years, leading to an associate degree. Courses include anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology; and typing, transcription, recordkeeping, accounting, and other office activities. Students learn lab techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, etc.