Medical assistants represent the backbone of any clinic and healthcare facility—especially now that the global healthcare industry is facing unprecedented pressure.
By entering this professional field, you’ll have the unique chance to build relationships with patients, expand your skill set with administrative capabilities, and play a role in building healthier communities.
And, if this isn’t enough, becoming a medical assistant can offer unparalleled opportunities for personal growth, career advancement, and financial stability.
Learn what to expect from your career as a medical assistant in the guide below.
Medical assisting: An overview
While a career as a medical assistant can be extremely rewarding, it is crucial to set your expectations correctly and understand if it represents the best choice for your personal and professional goals.
So, let’s start by understanding the main responsibilities, career advancement opportunities, and duties of a medical assistant. But don’t forget that asking other certified medical assistants and healthcare professionals about their experience is one of the best ways to get an idea of what to expect.
How do you become a medical assistant?
While a degree isn’t necessary to become a medical assistant, to enter the niche of medical assisting, you will need to invest in accredited training courses.
These courses, which allow you to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), can be completed in as little as six months, and provide you with all the knowledge and skills to successfully enter the workforce. Some of the key abilities you’ll learn during your training include phlebotomy, patient history management, pharmacology, EKG, and CPR.
When choosing a medical assistant course, make sure to choose one that is highly accredited, local, and internationally recognized. For example, if your dream is to work at the highly-renowned Hackensack Meridian Health facilities, choosing a medical assistant program in New Jersey can help you kickstart your career.
Advancing your career as a medical assistant
CMA is one of the best certifications that pay well, and it often works great as a starting point for professionals looking to enter the healthcare industry.
But once you have become a MA, the chances are that you will be looking for career advancement opportunities. Luckily, there is no shortage of options for medical assistants looking to grow professionally. Some of the paths to consider are:
- Seeking continuing education (i.e.: a bachelor’s degree in a related clinical or administrative field)
- Investing in specialty training and certifications to become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or an MA with managerial responsibilities.
5 Benefits of becoming a medical assistant
The shortage of medical assistants in the US and worldwide has been worsening significantly since 2016 and, today, these professional figures are more in demand than ever. But why should you choose to become a medical assistant? The benefits below will put your doubts to rest.
The job market for medical assistants is growing much faster than average
According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants are likely to experience a 20-30% job growth, which is much faster than the US average. What’s more, in the period 2021-2031, over 123,000 job openings are projected each year, offering professionals in the field unprecedented levels of job security.
Ultimately, if you have always wanted to enter the healthcare industry, this might be the best time to do so! Due to the high levels of pressure the health sector has suffered in the past years and a rapidly shifting workforce, there are plenty of growth and job security opportunities for new MAs.
Experienced medical assistants can earn $55,680 a year
Although salary expectations are not the only aspect to look for in a satisfying profession, your expected income plays a role in what your lifestyle and finances will look like in the next few years. That is why, before becoming an MA, it is important to understand what to expect from your future remuneration.
According to statistics by Indeed, Medical Assistants in the US earn an average hourly rate of $18.10 and an annual base salary of $41,874. However, in some states, such as New Jersey, the average base salary for MAs is as high as $44,000, and experienced medical assistants can earn as much as $55,680 a year.
Low entry barriers make for a great career in healthcare
One of the greatest benefits of the medical assistant career path is that it presents low entry barriers for candidates. As we have seen above, certification courses can be completed in as little as six months, and further training is readily available within professional and academic settings.
Ultimately, many students use the medical assisting program as a starting point for their career in the medical field and gain the experience needed to advance to better-paying and more rewarding job roles.
The cross-training allows you to build personal relationships with patients
One of the key elements of any medical assisting program is the cross-training it delivers. Indeed, medical assistants will be required to have a deep understanding of both clinical and administrative duties within a given healthcare setting.
Thanks to the cross-training you’ll receive and the duties you will be responsible for, your job will give you the chance to build personal relationships with patients, make a difference in their daily routine, and support the medical staff within the clinic.
Endless career advancement opportunities
Whether becoming a medical assistant has always been your goal or you are in the process of switching to the medical field from another industry, professional development opportunities are something that should not be underestimated in your career choice.
Luckily, medical assistants benefit from a wide range of career advancement options in both the clinical and administrative side of their profession. For example, if your calling is to lead people and facilities, you might choose to become a care coordinator, a community health manager, or a clinical supervisor.
Alternatively, you can pass on your skills to others by becoming an MA instructor or take on a different role in the healthcare industry by becoming a Registered Nurse.
Finding an experienced mentor can help you choose a career path with confidence.
Taking the first steps in medical assisting
Although the medical assisting field is certainly not short of growth and development opportunities nor lacks salary and financial security benefits, taking the first steps in this career path can be intimidating.
If you are unsure about where to start, choosing a reliable training course can help you prepare for the challenges ahead, build your network of connections, and hone the essential skills you’ll need to make an excellent medical assistant!