Medical Assistants: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- Medical assistants typically graduate from postsecondary education programs. Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states, employers may prefer to hire assistants who have completed these programs.
- Training Required
- Medical assistants who do not have postsecondary education certificates learn their skills through on-the-job training. Physicians or other medical assistants may teach a new assistant medical terminology, the names of the instruments, how to do daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other tasks that help keep an office running smoothly. Medical assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records (EHRs) and how to record patient information. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 29% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- With experience, medical assistants can specialize and move into leadership roles. With more education they may advance into other healthcare occupations such as registered nurse, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.
- Medical assistants are not required to be certified in most states. However, employers may prefer to hire certified assistants.
- Median pay: How much do Medical Assistants make?
- $31,540 Annual Salary
- $15.17 per hour
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
What do Medical Assistants do?
Medical assistants typically do the following:
- Record patient history and personal information
- Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
- Help physicians with patient examinations
- Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
- Schedule patient appointments
- Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
- Enter patient information into medical records
Medical assistants take and record patients personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.
Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing some medical assistants jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.
In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.
Careers for Medical Assistants
- Administrative medical assistants
- Assistants, medical
- Assistants, ophthalmic medical
- Assistants, optometric
- Assistants, podiatric medical
- Autopsy assistants
- Certified medical assistants
- Chiropractic assistants
- Clinical medical assistants
- Morgue attendants
- Ocular care aides
- Ophthalmic medical assistants
- Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants
- Optometric aides
- Optometrist assistants
- Optometry assistants
- Orthopedic cast specialists
- Podiatric aides
- Podiatric medical assistants
- Specialized medical assistants
- Dental Assistants
- Dental Hygienists
- EMTs and Paramedics
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- Medical Transcriptionists
- Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides
- Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides
- Surgical Technologists