Today’s medical industry is always in need of qualified, trained and educated personnel who can take on tasks in medical facilities around the world. An aging population and a rise in obesity means that there is a greater need than ever before for medical attention, and it is one of the few fields that is seeing an increasing salary base and annual hires despite a sometimes stagnant economy.
However, many aspiring medical professionals are still under the impression that they need to have an advanced degree in order to find employment. The reality is that it takes all kinds of people to run a hospital, a private practice or a clinic, and some of the most vital people within the industry are medical assistants.
If you have ever thought about pursing a degree in medical assisting, use this guide to find out how you can become a medical assistant.
Understanding the Role of a Medical Assistant
Before you focus on getting the training and education it takes to become a medical assistant, it is important that you understand a little more about this line of work. Medical assistants can be employed in hospitals, private doctor’s offices, clinics, nursing homes and anywhere else that medical services are offered to patients.
Some medical assistants take on basic administrative duties, but most work hands-on with patients in some capacity or another. A medical assistant might greet patients as they enter, take down their vital statistics, ask questions about their symptoms and generally prep the patient before they meet with the doctor.
This is a way of streamlining the appointment, making it easier for the physician and saving time for the patient. The schedule and work habits of a medical assistant will depend substantially on where they are employed.
A medical assistant in a private practice, for example, might work a typical day schedule from Monday to Friday, but a medical assistant in a busy general hospital could work nights or weekends on a rotating basis. Either way, the work can be demanding and involve long standing shifts, but it can also be meaningful and can be very fulfilling to the right candidates.
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
Another important step in determining whether medical assisting is the right field for you is looking ahead at the job outlook for the future. Job outlook essentially predicts the growth of the field, the demand for people who hold medical assisting qualifications and the general job security that people who want to work in this field can expect.
Fortunately, the job outlook news is very positive for medical assisting professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the next decade, there will be a staggering 29 percent increase in demand for medical assistants in the United States. This makes it one of the most promising careers in the country, and it is a great sign for anyone planning to commit to a medical assisting degree.
Prerequisites for an Associate Degree in the Field
Before you can enroll into the necessary associate degree program in medical assisting, most colleges will expect you to meet some prerequisites. These are basic requirements that all students need to meet before they can begin the degree program, and they vary from college to college.
In almost every instance, you will be required to have graduated from high school, and you will typically need to show proof of either your high school diploma or your general education degree. Some colleges with a more competitive admission process may also require you to have either SAT or ACT scores, a minimum grade point average on a 4.0 scale or even a written recommendation or reference from a teacher or employer that knows you well.
What to Expect When Earning Your Associate Degree in Medical Assisting
If you know that medical assisting is the right career move for you, and you meet all of the prerequisites listed above, then it is time to get serious about acquiring the necessary certifications and education. The American Association of Medical Assistants requires all certified medical assistants licensed in the United States to have a minimum of a two-year undergraduate degree before they can be employed.
This typically translates to an associate degree, which can be earned from countless online and traditional campus colleges across the country.
During the four semesters that make up the associate degree, some of the courses that you might come across on your curriculum could include clinical phlebotomy, medical terminology, administrative office skills, business communications, anatomy, pharmacology, medical law and medical ethics.
The objective of these courses is to prepare you to meet with patients and help medical professionals deliver the best possible care that they can. Of course, it is vital to remember that every college has a slightly different syllabus, so these courses may vary depending on where you earn your associate degree in medical assisting.
Choosing the Right College for Your Education
While the associate degree in medical assisting is widely available, it is up to each individual student to decide which college is the best option for their advanced education. Many students find that online colleges are the best fit for their busy schedules. Through an accredited online college, you can watch lectures online or stream them live over the Internet.
This is a much easier alternative when compared to driving to campus for early-morning or late-night lectures on campus. Everything can be done over the Internet, including studying your course materials and participating in classroom discussions with your peers and your teaching staff.
Believe it or not, you can even take your exams online from the comfort of home. All of this makes it easier than ever to complete an associate degree and pursue a new career in the field of medical assisting.
Attributes Found Among Successful Medical Assistants
With an associate degree, you will be eligible for many different medical assistant positions. However, you might find that many of the most successful medical assistants have the same few traits in common, and they are the attributes that employers are looking for when hiring new recruits.
To be successful in this field and enjoy a long and happy career, try to cultivate things like clear communication skills, compassion with patients, exceptional medical vocabulary and patience. In addition, being organized and staying focused on the tasks at hand are key for success as a medical assistant.
Becoming a medical assistant is a two-year process, but it can be a wonderful way to increase your earning potential, explore a new career path and find a job that is meaningful and fulfilling. With the help of an accredited online college, you can pursue your associate degree from home and begin embarking on your new life sooner than ever before. Find out more at Accredited-Online-Colleges.com.