So that the medical facility can function perfectly, medical assistants are the important staff.
These healthcare workers are there to provide support to other professionals in ambulatory clinics, physician offices, and other medical settings.
Being that a huge job is done there, you can expect that they have numerous responsibilities, related to both clinical and administrative sectors.
In order to become efficient and get equipped with all the needed knowledge and skills, these healthcare professionals must meet specific requirements.
By meeting them, they prove to their employers that they are capable of performing the job of a medical assistant in a competent manner.
The requirements they must meet are:
- Education Requirements
- Certification Requirements
- State Requirements
- Job Requirements
We always suggest to our readers that they should gain formal education, even though it is not required by the state, due to the fact that employers expect medical assistants to have it.
Medical assistant programs are often in the form of a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree.
Depending on which level you want to reach, you may need to attend classes between 10 months and 2 years.
Programs are offered through junior colleges and vocational-technical schools.
You can choose to attend classes on campus or online.
Our strong recommendation is to enroll in programs that are accredited by a nationally recognized certifying body, such as Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
The majority of medical assisting programs consist of three portions: administrative, clinical, and an externship which will be done at an approved healthcare facility.
Upon completion, students will be ready to take nationally recognized certification exams, such as the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
Once you come to the point when you have finished the medical assistant educational program, you can choose to pursue a number of national certifications through various organizations that offer it, such as:
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- The American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant credential
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
No matter which one of them you choose, gaining a certificate includes meeting specific eligibility requirements and taking and passing the exam.
Depending on state requirements, if a medical assistant wants to perform specific duties, he/she must pass training for that field.
The Medical Board of California requires that medical assistants pass specific training before being allowed to administer medication by intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections or perform venipuncture or skin punctures.
The training consist of at least 10 hours during which students are supposed to perform at least 10 of each type of injection or skin test under the supervision of a professional.
On the other hand, there are some tasks that medical assistants are not allowed to perform.
In Montana, they cannot do any invasive procedures, including injections except under the supervision of a physician or podiatrist.
Just like any other medical staff, medical assistants have different job requirements that they need to perform during the course of the day.
Medical assistant’s job duties will vary based on the practice specialty or the size of the practice.
However, in the majority of cases, they are in charge of the following job duties:
- Perform administrative tasks, including bookkeeping procedures and insurance claims processing
- Establish and maintain patient records
- Perform clinical tasks, such as sterilization techniques, specimen collection, diagnostic testing, vital signs, and patient care
- Communicate with patients
- Giving advice to patients related to disease prevention, health maintenance, and physician instructions
- Maintain professional conduct
- Assist with patient procedures and in-office surgical procedures
Besides having to perform a number of administrative duties, including scheduling, medical correspondence, medical billing and coding, and collecting and managing medical records, these professionals have many other duties to perform, such as interviewing patients, administering medicine, and sterilizing supplies and instruments.
It is true that medical knowledge is the most important skill, but there are some personal qualities that make a good medical assistant, such as:
- Analytical skills, to better understand medical charts, billing, insurance billing, and medical coding
- Detail-Oriented, as they will need to collect accurate patient records
- Compassion and empathy, skills that are significant when interacting with patients and communicating with their family members