Anthem Education Group

Tasks, Skills, Responsibilities, and Career Outlook for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative procedures for physician offices and other medical providers. Following are typical administrative and clinical procedures performed by medical assistants.

Administrative Procedures

  • Update and file medical records
  • Answer phones and schedule appointments
  • Arrange for hospital admissions
  • Handle correspondence, billing, bookkeeping

Clinical Procedures

  • Record patients’ medical histories
  • Take patients’ vital signs
  • Perform basic laboratory tests
  • Sterilize medical instruments
  • Prepare and clean exam rooms

(ONet Online)

Depending on the type of practice and its size, medical assistants may handle a variety of responsibilities or focus in a particular clinical or administrative area. Those who work in smaller offices may be supervised by a physician, while those in large practices might report to a department administrator. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Medical assistants should have good communication skills, particularly active listening and social perceptiveness skills. They need strong coordination and monitoring skills. In addition, awareness of security and public safety measures are critical as several laws and regulations address occupational safety and health and patient privacy. (ONet Online)

Employment for medical assistants is expected to grow quicker than the average for all jobs—as much as by 34% between 2008 and 2018. Much of this growth could come from expanding medical care to more people as well as technological advances that will require more skilled operational personnel. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Medical assistants who focus on clinical work can advance their careers by obtaining certification from associations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and Association of Medical Technologists (AMT). Medical assistants can also obtain specialty certification in areas of electrocardiography and phlebotomy. Those who work in administrative capacities can be promoted to office management.  (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Most medical assistants (62%) work in physician offices. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) The rest work in public and private hospitals, or are employed by other healthcare providers such as chiropractors, or in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

Anthem College Beaverton (Portland, Oregon), offers a Medical Assistant Diploma program that helps prepare students for entry-level positions in the field. Visit our program page or call 1.866.502.2627 for more information.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, O’Net Online

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