You usually find MA's in primary care (basic, rather than specialized) facilities because of their generalized education. You can think of primary care as the first stop for a patient who is seeking treatment but may not know exactly what kind of treatment they need yet. The job outlook for a medical assistant is good, but where will you find the most opportunities?
As a medical assistant, you're equipped with a generalized knowledge of medical practice that includes duties such as:
- Intaking patients
- Assisting with medical exams
- Preparing medical records
- Administering medications
- General administrative work
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% of medical assistants work in a physician's office, making them the largest employer of MA's by far. Patients do not stay overnight at a physician's office and the hours are more predictable. You would generally be working a normal 9 to 5 style schedule without much variation. For someone with a family to worry about a predictable schedule can be very helpful.
A physician's office is also going to be smaller than your average hospital and that makes it a good work environment for those who like to get to know their colleagues and patients on a more personal level. You would be working directly under a doctor and have a direct line of communication which is an appealing idea to many people.
The next largest employer of MA's are hospitals. The work would be similar wherever you end up but your experience may differ depending on the size of the hospital. A facility in a small town would be a slower paced environment than a hospital in the heart of a big city, for example. Working in a hospital can be unpredictable but also very rewarding and it's a good choice for those who like to be challenged by their work.
You won't have the opportunity to get to know your superiors and colleagues as well as you would in other types of facilities, but for some people the fast paced work environment is desirable. You could also find work in a private hospital. Private hospitals are a bit more selective with who they hire but in return, you can expect more resources and a higher pay grade.
Outpatient Care Centers
Outpatient procedures are those that don't require overnight hospitalization. Examples of this type of care would be broken bones, minor burns, dehydration, allergic reactions, and management of chronic illnesses. Generally, outpatient care is performed in facilities designated solely for this purpose and not in an actual hospital.
Working in outpatient care is definitely more predictable than working in a hospital, which can be a benefit to some and a downside to others. You will tend to a variety of patients and be exposed to many medical situations but most of them will not be too serious. Outpatient care strikes a balance between the hectic nature of hospitals and the routine nature of physician's offices.
Medical assistants are qualified to work in many different places depending on their personal preferences. No matter what path you choose the job outlook is good, with employment growing at a higher rate than other fields.
The only thing left to do now is to start on your path to becoming a medical assistant. To find out more about becoming a certified MA you can talk with one of our admission counselors at Athena Career Academy.