The importance of health care professionals is now more relevant than ever before, and medical assistants are the pillars that support the health care industry from its basis.
According to the Ohio Business College, the 2020’s pandemic entirely changed the focus of our society regarding medicine - we are now more health-focused than ever, which creates the path for people who want to work as medical assistants to proliferate professionally.
But where can medical assistants work exactly? If you want to jumpstart your career in the health care industry as a medical assistant, it is important to learn where most medical assisting positions are - worry not, we’ll help you out.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
The BLS recognizes medical assistants as professionals who complete clinical and administrative duties in certain health care facilities and medical offices.
These administrative and clinical tasks vary depending on the location, size of the task, and specialty of the offices they work in. Typically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions that most medical assistants do the following tasks:
Measure vital signs.
Be familiar with medical terminology.
Schedule patient appointments.
Record all personal information and patient medical histories.
Prepare blood samples for lab tests.
Provide patients with injections as directed by professionals.
Help with patient examination and medical records.
It is worth noting that a certified medical assistant is not the same as a physician assistant. Although medical assisting jobs can indeed be found inside physician offices, physician assistants often work under the supervision of a certified physician.
Therefore, in practice, this is an example of four branches of medical assistants recognized by the BLS:
Podiatric medical assistants: they work alongside podiatrists, also known as foot doctors, in duties such as surgery, casting, and developing x-rays.
Clinical medical assistants: a clinical medical assistant performs common tasks related to the medical assisting career, which might include basic lab tests, removing stitches, instructions about medication, basic medical care procedures, and more.
Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants: they help ophthalmologists with eye-care and patient-care-related duties.
Administrative medical assistants: although administrative medical assistants should be qualified to perform basic medical assistant’s job tasks, they often are in charge of answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and all administrative work required within the workplace.
What Is Medical Assistant's Typical Work Environment?
BLS Statistics show us that the largest employers of medical assistants are offices of physicians, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and offices of chiropractors.
It is widely known that medical assistants can help to improve the efficiency of medical or administrative tasks of other health care professionals as well, so workplaces are not limited to the aforementioned options.
The American Association of Medical Assistants ensures that most medical assistants work in clean and well-lit environments in typical 40-hour-per-week shifts, although it is possible to work part-time, during evenings, or only on weekends.
Where Can Medical Assistants Work?
If you wish to become a medical assistant, then it is important to consider four important qualities mentioned by the BLS: analytical skills, detail-oriented, technical skills, and interpersonal skills.
Most medical assisting programs prepare medical assistance students to endure all the administrative and clinical duties that they will face in their careers.
The good thing is that after becoming a medical assistant, you might be able to work in any of the following 13 places.
1. Offices of Physicians
Almost 60 percent of all medical assistants in the United States work in physician offices.
Depending on the specialization of physicians, assistants can offer help in a wide variety of medical services and administrative tasks.
Administering medications, noting patient medical histories, measuring patient vital signs, and helping with administrative duties inside the doctor’s office are among the most common tasks of assistants who work inside offices of physicians.
In this case, it is common to work regular 9-5 shifts. On top of that, most private practices inside the doctor’s office have recurring patients, which provides assistants with the opportunity to get to know their patients better over time.
2. State, Local and Private Hospitals
Around 15 percent of USA’s medical assistants work in state, private or local hospitals across the country.
In hospitals, the same patients rarely come back, and the work shifts can vary heavily. Assistants must be mentally and physically ready to assist doctors during minor surgery, emergencies, diagnostic laboratory, organizing hospital admissions, and more.
In this case, medical professionals often work under high stress and fast-paced environments, but even if these are the typical conditions, National Healthcareer Association ensures that medical assistants love their jobs.
3. Outpatient Care
Outpatient care centers help patients who haven’t been admitted into hospitals for treatment or diagnosis matters.
Medical assistants complete typical clinical and administrative tasks inside outpatient clinics as in other work environments.
Since outpatient care centers are essentially private practice offices, the work pace is less stressful and has a higher annual mean wage than average (around $44,680 per year).
4. Offices of Chiropractors
Chiropractors often hire certified medical assistants with experience in body manipulation. Unlike medical clinics, assistants in offices of chiropractors are more focused on physical tasks, such as learning massage techniques and chiropractic treatments.
Nonetheless, assisting with patient medical records, phone calls, and administrative work is often required as well.
5. Obstetrics and Gynecology Facility
There is no formal or specific certification for medical assistants who want to work in obstetric gynecology facilities, but it is known that doctors seek certifications from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
In this branch of the health care industry, medical assistants work with old and young women while assisting the obstetrician or gynecologist with specific tasks within the medical facilities.
6. Medical Research Centers
It is possible to work for medical research centers that conduct clinical trials on qualified participants as well.
Your work as a medical assistant for medical research centers consists of conducting specific medical procedures and clinical trials in order to determine, alongside scientists, the effectiveness of medications and procedures.
The FDA must approve new drugs and medicines before they enter the market, which is why these clinical trials are so important.
7. Diagnostic Laboratories
Medical assistants work in diagnostic laboratories as well. In this case, it is important to perform clinical tasks related to samples, such as blood testing, biopsies, blood sugar scans, and more.
It is important to keep in mind that some open positions at diagnostic laboratories also require medical assistants to be certified as phlebotomists.
8. Psychiatric Outpatient Care
The role of medical assistants in a physiatric medical clinic resembles the one found inside classic outpatient care facilities.
Clinical and administrative duties are often required, such as checking vital signs and performing basic administrative tasks regarding patients.
9. Palliative Care Facilities
Medical assistants at palliative care facilities assist cancer patients who are normally terminally ill.
The medical assistant training consists of helping oncologists with clinical tasks, such as administering medication.
Medical assistants who work in this branch often respond to the same patients over time, which adds a new layer of humanity to the job, such as informing patients’ relatives about the best course of action to follow and the current state of the patient.
10. Home Healthcare
It is possible for medical assistants to work at home health care by providing patients who stay at home with the assistance needed to ensure good health.
This option works for medical assistants who want to have flexible schedules, and it also provides a clear focus on the medical assistants' clinical duties vs. administrative tasks.
Assistants must act up on mobility tasks, measuring vital signs, taking blood samples, and so on.
11. Insurance Companies
Medical assistants are valuable assets to insurance companies due to the fact that they know how to handle medical terminology and administrative work at the same time.
Instead of working inside a hospital or an office, assistants will perform administrative calls, such as answering phone calls, processing insurance claims, and understanding medical records better than nonprofessionals in the field of medicine.
12. Military Medical Assistants
Lastly, it is possible to become a Military Medical Assistant by completing a basic Military Medical Assistant Program based on aptitudes and qualifications.
It is required to complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter (ASVAB) in case you want to enroll in any of the following military positions:
Medical Assistant in the U.S Health Services Technician, often referred to as Physician Assistants, must be qualified to perform basic medical duties in the civilian world.
Medical Assistant in The U.S. Navy, also known as Hospital Corpsman, often provide basic medical help to sailors and marines.
Medical Assistants in The U.S. Army, known as Health Care Specialists, are fully professional medical assistants ready to help others, deploy anywhere in the world, and scale through the military ranks.
Wrapping Up: Medical Assistant Jobs in the Near Future
The projections of the BLS show us that around 123,000 new openings for medical assistants appear every single year.
This represents a growth of 16 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average occupation in the United States of America.
Considering a career as a medical assistant might forge a path of professionals who are vocationally ready to help others.
How Much Does a Medical Assistant Earn?
On average, the median annual wage for medical assistants is around $37,200 per year. This heavily varies depending on the location, work setting, and duties.
What Are the Top Paying States for Medical Assisting in the USA?
BLS reveals that the states where medical assistants make the most money in the U.S.A are the following:
Alaska, with average earnings of $46,610 per year for medical assistants.
Washington, with average earnings of $45,700 per year.
And Massachusetts, where most medical assistants make around $43,090 per year.
Program outcomes may vary depending on each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guranteed.