5 facts to know about medical assisting

Consider these five facts about medical assisting.Whether you are embarking on a career in medical assisting or just beginning a medical assisting program, there is plenty to know about this exciting career in health care. While the title of the job is fairly self explanatory – medical assistants support doctors and nurses by completing various clinical and administrative tasks1 – there are some additional facts that you should know about the field.

1. Employment is growing rapidly
Now is a great time to pursue a career as a medical assistant because employment is growing so rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow at a rate of 31 percent between 2010 and 2020 – that’s 17 percent faster than average! It is also projected that nearly 163,000 medical assistants will be hired between 2010 and 2020.2

2. Pay is increasing
Due to the high demand for medical assistants, their pay has been increasing. In fact, medical assistants now earn as much as $14 to $16 per hour.3 Professionals who are salaried earn a median income of $28,860. Those who take on additional evening or weekend shifts may also be able to earn overtime pay.4

3. You will need to use a variety of skills
The day-to-day duties of medical assistants require the use of both clinical and administrative skills. For example, front office tasks may include patient registration and the scheduling of appointments, while back office tasks range from exam room preparation to phlebotomy. The duties of a medical assistant will likely vary from daily depending on the needs of the physician. 5

4. You do not have to be certified
While many health care professionals require special certification, this is not the case with medical assistants in some states. However, employers are much more likely to hire medical assistants that are certified. You can earn your certification through a variety of organizations, including the American Medical Technologists and the American Association of Medical Assistants.6

5. The job is changing
While medical assistants are still relied upon to make the offices of health care professionals run smoothly, the job is changing. The introduction of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), which move patient information online, means that medical assistants will need to become adept at using the EHR software in the office in which they work.7

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘What Medical Assistants Do,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-2
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Medical Assistants,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-1
3 Adams, Alice, The Houston Chronicle,’ Aug. 23, 2013 – http://www.chron.com/jobs/article/Schools-strive-to-prep-enough-medical-assistants-4756465.php
4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Pay,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-5
5 The City University of New York, ‘Medical Assisting: An Overview of the Profession & Results of the Survey of Graduates,’ Feb. 2012 – http://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/hhs/CUNY.MAReport.2.6.12.pdf
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘How to Become a Medical Assistant,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-4
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘What Medical Assistants Do,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-2