If you're considering pursuing a career in healthcare, medical assisting can allow you to do meaningful work that matters in your community. Medical assistants play an essential role in the day-to-day operations of healthcare facilities and are often among the first and last people a patient sees at a check-up or doctor's appointment. If you are compassionate, detailed-oriented, and are interested in working in the healthcare field, here are four reasons why medical assisting is a great place to start.
Medical assistant employment is growing faster than average.
Medical assistant employment growth follows the general growth of the healthcare industry and the increasing need for support workers at healthcare facilities.
According to the BLS, employment of medical assistants in the US is expected to increase 29% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the 7% average across all occupations.
By 2026, the BLS projects that 818,400 medical assistants will be employed in the US, compared to the 634,400 medical assistants counted in 2016. Such an increase in demand can provider workers with increased career stability and the knowledge that, no matter where they are in the country, medical assistants will be needed.
Medical assisting is more than just a job. It’s a rewarding healthcare career.
As a medical assistant, you’ll have the chance to contribute directly to patient health and medical care. You may interact often with patients and, with an upbeat attitude and positive demeanor, you can help to keep patients feeling at ease and smiling during a physician’s visit that might otherwise be stressful.
Medical assistants are valued members of the health care team who support physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals.
As a medical assistant, you'll also be learning a lot about the healthcare field. With experience and continued education, you may find opportunities for advancement into roles like medical office or records manager, healthcare administrator, or other related jobs.
Medical assisting encompasses diverse and engaging responsibilities.
As a medical assistant, you may perform a wide mix of administrative and clinical duties, so that you’re always busy and never bored.
On the administrative side, you might:
- schedule appointments
- greet patients
- update electronics
- manage health records
- handle billing and insurance.
Clinical duties can include:
- recording patient information and history
- instructing patients on medications
- checking vital signs
- preparing blood samples
- conducting basic lab tests
- assisting the doctor before and during a patient exam.
In some states, medical assistants may also give patients injections or medications as instructed by the physician.
Many healthcare facilities need medical assistants.
Medical assistants can work in a variety of care facilities. Most medical assistants have full-time schedules while others have the option to work part-time instead. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2016, physicians’ offices (at 57% of medical assistants), hospitals (at 15%), outpatient care centers (10%) and chiropractors’ offices (4%) were the biggest employers.
If you work in a physician’s or other health care practitioner’s office, you may work a relatively predictable schedule since most clinics and offices open during standard business hours, making it easier for you to plan and schedule time with family and friends.
How to Prepare for Your Medical Assisting Career
At South University, our Associate of Science in Medical Assisting degree program can prepare you with the technical training, interpersonal skills, and medical knowledge needed to begin working as a medical assistant in as little as 2 years. Your program will cover topics such as:
- Medical terminology
- Clinical competencies
- Clinical laboratory competencies
- Medical office procedures
- Medical insurance and coding
- Computers in the medical office
- Human pathophysiology
- Business communications
- Medical assisting certification
- And more
South University's medical assisting program curriculum can prepare you well to start your career, and when South University checked in with our 2015 and 2016 Associate of Science in Medical Assisting graduates, 100% reported high satisfaction.*
In addition to hands-on coursework and one-on-one faculty attention, our program includes the opportunity to gain on-site experience and practice performing supervised medical assistant duties in a local medical organization.
Learn more today about South University’s medical assisting program available at our Columbia, Montgomery, and Savannah campuses.
*See program outcomes pages for more details: Columbia, Montgomery, and Savannah.
Note: This post was originally published on August 30, 2017 and was updated with new information in November 2018.