Medical Assistant Courses

Medical assistants carry out clinical and administrative tasks in the office of physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and other medical practitioners. The clinical duties performed by medical assistants range from recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, taking medical histories, explaining treatment procedures to patients, performing basic tests, disposing contaminated supplies and sterilizing medical instruments. Their tasks also include preparing patients for x-rays and electrocardiograms, arranging the examining room and maintaining its cleanliness.

The administrative duties may include filing and updating patient’s medical records, arranging for laboratory services and hospital admissions, filling out insurance forms etc. Sometimes, they may have to carry to other mundane tasks like scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, greeting patients, answering telephones, handling bills and book keeping.

There are medical assistants who specialize in certain areas like optometric medical assistants, podiatric medical assistants, ophthalmic medical assistants etc. Optometric medical assistants provide eye care, chair side assistance, conducting preliminary tests on patients, instruct patients about using contact lens. Podiatric medical assistants assist podiatrists by making castings of feet, developing x-rays and assisting in surgery. The job of ophthalmic medical assistants includes maintaining surgical and optical instruments, administering eye medications and assisting ophthalmologists in surgery.

The exact duties of medical assistants vary according to the office they occupy, its size and also the specialty of the practitioner. Medical assistants working in small practices may have to perform both administrative and clinical tasks while those working in large offices will usually work in specialized areas under the supervision of department administrators.

In order to become a certified medial assistant one must have thorough knowledge in medial terminology, pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, medial insurance billing and coding. For this, it is necessary to get professionally trained from an accredited institution. One must have completed at least high school before gaining entry into a college or technical school. Subjects required at the high school level include math, biology, health, computers, office practices and book keeping. Many vocational technical high schools, community colleges and universities offer one year certificate/diploma program and two year associate degree programs in medical assistant. The typical courses taught under the program include medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, medical law, ethics, transcription, typing, record keeping, accounting and insurance processing. The practical side includes clinical and diagnostic procedures, laboratory techniques, pharmaceutical principles, first aid and the administration of medicines. Internship at physicians office, hospital or other health care centre is also a part of the program.

The medical assistant program is accredited by various organizations. Some medical assistants are trained on the job but many finish one or two year programs. Medical assistants can go into the teaching field or become office managers or do other administrative jobs or even get more education to become health care workers like registered nurses.

It is estimated that around sixty percent of the medial assistants work in the office of physicians. The next choice is hospitals both public and private. Many medical assistants also work in the office of other health care professionals like podiatrists, optometrists, outpatient care centers, nursing and residential care facilities. The earnings of medical assistants vary depending upon the qualification, skill level, location of the job and experience. They can earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year.