Are you considering becoming a medical assistant, but don’t know if this is the right career for you? Some of the things you will undoubtedly consider are whether you can earn a good living, how easy it will be to get a job, and the positive and negative aspects of the job.
Understanding the details of medical assisting will help you determine whether you should pursue this career.
Is Becoming a Medical Assistant Worth It?
One important factor in deciding on a career is whether you will be satisfied in your work, and whether you feel it is worth your time and energy. A 2022 study by US News and World Report found that medical assistant was the ninth-best job you could get without a college degree. This job is relatively low-stress, with some room for advancement with further education.
What Do Medical Assistants Do in Their Daily Work?
Medical assistants work under the supervision of a doctor, or under a head nurse, carrying out a doctor's instructions. Most often, they work in a medical office or hospital. In their daily routine, a medical assistant may perform a mix of clinical and administrative duties. Some of the things that a medical assistant may be tasked with include:
- Preparing patients for a doctor’s appointment
- Taking vitals
- Verifying insurance information
- Setting patient appointments
- Answering the phone
- Keeping accurate patient records
- Preparing medications under the instruction and supervision of a doctor
- Explaining medical procedures to patients
- Cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment
Medical assistants cannot give their own medical advice, or write a prescription. That said, medical assistants are a vital part of any medical facility, and provide valuable support which allows the medical facility to run smoothly.
Is Medical Assistant a Viable Career?
There is significant job demand for medical assistants, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 16% increase in MA jobs between 2021 and 2031 . Over this ten-year period, over 117,000 jobs are projected to be added. When it comes to annual salary or hourly pay, the rate will vary based on the local market. Consulting job sites such as Salary.com, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter can give you granular data on how much medical assistants are earning in your area.
Most medical assistants work in doctors’ offices (58%), followed by hospitals (15%), outpatient care facilities (9%), and chiropractor offices (4%).
Though medical assistant certification is only required in four states: Idaho, Washington, Connecticut, and New Jersey, most employers will still look for candidates who are certified because of one important reason. The malpractice insurance carrier for the supervising physician may require that the medical assistant be certified by a national or private association in order to insure the physician’s practice.
Once you are certified as a medical assistant, and you gain hands-on experience, you can earn specialty certifications that will help you work in specialized fields, such as podiatry, dermatology, or chiropractic.
Pros and Cons of Becoming a Medical Assistant
Like any job, there are pros and cons to working as a medical assistant.
Some positive aspects about being a medical assistant:
- Career mobility. You can find a job in another city if you move.
- Room for growth. Some medical assistants go on to nursing school to further advance their career.
- Satisfying work. You have a direct impact on people’s well-being, and you have a positive impact on your local community.
- Professional setting. Working in a physician’s office or medical facility means there is order, professionalism, and mutual respect.
- Relatively short training period. The Medical Assisting program at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, allows you to work as an entry-level medical assistant in about 36 weeks.
Every career path has some downsides, too. Here are a few to consider as a medical assistant:
Long work hours, depending on facility. While doctor’s offices have regular business hours, if you work in an urgent care facility, you may be asked to work 10 to 12 hours per day.
Multiple job responsibilities. Medical assisting is a good career for people who can switch tasks easily. A typical day may see you perform a range of clinical and administrative tasks.
Lack of autonomy. A medical assistant works for a doctor or medical office, and follows their instructions. There is not much room for independent decision-making.
Potential biohazards. Care must be taken to follow procedures for handling and care of bodily fluids. PPE may also be required in certain situations. Immunocompromised people may feel working with sick or infected people is too great a risk to choose a career in healthcare.
You Can Become a Medical Assistant in California
The Medical Assistant Program at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, prepares students to perform a wide array of duties in the medical field. At the conclusion of training, students will earn a NCMA certification as a medical assistant. This program is a hybrid program, offered in our OnlinePlus format, with most of the coursework completed online, with required clinical studies held in person at our location in Sacramento. Our medical assisting students learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology. Each student in the Medical Assisting program is required to finish a 200‐hour unpaid off‐campus Medical Assisting Externship along with standard course requirements to graduate. To become certified as a Medical Assistant, the classroom work can be completed, followed by a 4-week externship. This means you can become certified as a Medical Assistant in as little as 36 weeks.
If you would like more information on the Medical Assisting program at Campus, fill out the form on this page, or contact our friendly Admissions team today!
Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.