Now is a great time to become a medical assistant. The career field is growing at a rapid pace as more physician offices and clinics hire medical assistants to help manage their day-to-day operations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical assistants will grow 29 percent through 2026.
While medical assistant’s specific duties may vary from office to office, most will perform both clinical and administrative duties. So, do you have what it takes to become a medical assistant? Keep reading to find out what skills will help you get hired.
Most healthcare employers are looking for medical assistants with experience and medical knowledge. This can be quickly gained with a great education. Schooling will also enable you to become credentialed as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA.) While medical assistants don't need to be licensed in most states, they may need a license to perform certain procedures like administering medications or giving injections. Most medical assistant programs take less than a year to compete. And graduating from a medical assistant training program will give you an edge on the competition when it comes to job hunting.
2. Basic Office Skills
Medical assistants are the backbone of a medical office that keep things running smoothing. To do this, they need to possess basic office skills typical of assistants in offices in any field. This includes the ability to work in reception answering phone calls and scheduling appointments. Medical assistants may also be expected to file medical charts, keep records, transcribe dictation and process medical billing. Needless to say, computer skills are a must.
3. Medical Administrative Skills
Clinics and doctor’s offices are looking for someone with great medical administrative skills when hiring a medical assistant. This might include monitoring and or ordering medical supplies, advocating for patients with their insurance companies and working with pharmacies to ensure patients have access to needed medications. Medical assistants must be fluent in medical terminology as other duties may include taking medical histories, educating patients about procedures, and/or negotiating managed care contracts.
4. Clinical Skills
Medical assistants are often expected to provide simple medical care under the direction of doctors. This makes proper training imperative. Medical assistants may be asked to measure vital signs and helping physicians with patient examinations. Certifications also increase the duties you are able to perform. This could include giving injections, applying bandages and changing dressings, collecting laboratory specimens, removing sutures, and drawing blood.
5. People Skills
Top-notch communication and interpersonal skills are a must for medical assistants. Medical assistants spend the majority of the day interacting with people, from nurses and doctors to patients and their families. These interactions are extremely important in order to maintain peace and calm in what can sometimes be stressful situations. Patients can be nervous and agitated while waiting to be seen or while waiting for answers to questions about their health. Your encounters with them can help dispel potential discomfort and anxiety. In addition, medical assistants often represent a medical office in communicating with insurance companies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other medical offices. It is you duty to put your best foot forward and be professional in all interactions.
6. Positive Personal Qualities
Some skills hiring managers look for in a medical assistant aren't learned. Instead them come natural to an individual. Many of these are positive character traits you may already posses. Successful medical assistants are well-organized, detail-oriented, adaptable, empathetic and active listeners. They are also good problem solvers and are master multitaskers. Medical assistants are also team players who can collaborate with a group of medical professionals to provide the best care to patients.
Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing careers in healthcare. So, now is the time to get started. Athena Career Academy can train you to become a successful medical assistant in just 7 1/2 months. Contact Athena Career Academy to get on your way today.