Prospective students often ask, “What is the job of a medical assistant?” In my view, there are more appropriate questions – “What are the jobs of a medical assistant?” for example, or “How can I build a career as a medical assistant?” Medical assistants don’t just do one job – they use a broad skill set to do what they can where they are needed.
You might wonder, “What is the job of a medical assistant in the office?” Though many hospitals and private practices hire medical administrative assistants to handle office work, medical assistants might collect, file and categorize patients’ medical histories and similar information. As a medical assistant, you’ll answer phone calls and receive patients.
But what is the job of a medical assistant in the examination room? That’s a completely different environment, and it comes with different jobs. Legally, medical assistants are allowed to do different things in different states: in California, they can weight patients, take blood pressure, perform cultures, and do other basic medical tests. They can also interview patients: here, your work as a medical assistant becomes extremely valuable. Often, the first person patients talk to in a hospital or doctor’s office is the medical assistant. Sometimes, doctors speak quickly and use too many medical terms for patients to understand – they’ll turn to you for clarifications. It is your job to make them feel respected and comfortable.
In California, medical assistants can also be phlebotomists. What is the job of a medical assistant who is also a phlebotomist? You are responsible for safely drawing blood from patients for tests to be performed in the lab. You’ll know the basics – the necessary hygiene and proper technique – but you also need to be able to put patients at ease, talk to them, and make sure they’re feeling well while you work with them. As a phlebotomist, you take on a little more responsibility than the average medical assistant, and you are also more desirable to employers.
You could also ask, “What is the job of a medical assistant in a private physician office?” In a private office, you’ll probably have more administrative duties, and you’ll do more work managing financial records and scheduling appointments. In a larger hospital, you’re likely to spend more time giving x-rays; you may also be asked to maintain inventory, perform laboratory tests, give injections, and clean equipment. In general, your responsibilities as a medical assistant will vary depending on your employer’s needs.
After attending ACHT, you’ll leave with what you need to respond to the requests of the healthcare professionals around you. You will have been trained in mathematics and accounting as well as more hands-on healthcare skills. You will have the knowledge necessary to attain a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) license. Most importantly, you’ll have the background and experience to start building a career, not just a job, out of your work as a medical assistant.