With such promising occupation projections from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s no surprise for many individuals to be interested in a new career in the healthcare industry. But where do you start, what career path is right for you? As you do your research to help you decide your next educational journey, it might be worth your while to check out the role of a medical assistant.
What is a medical assistant?
Medical assistants are caring, competent and committed providers who fill a vital need in the healthcare industry. Medical assistants are trained in both clinical and administrative duties and work alongside physicians and registered nurses (RNs). They are a huge help to doctors and nurses and can improve the quality of a hospital’s patient care.
Here are three reasons why you should consider becoming a medical assistant:
1. High demand
Medical assisting is one of the nation's fastest-growing careers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth is expected to be 23 percent from now until 2024. As the baby boomer population continues to age, there are significantly more elderly Americans in need of medical treatment.
How much can I make?
According to 2018 data from the BLS, medical assistants earn an average salary of $34,540 per year ($16.61 per hour). Graduates right out of school will need to gain experience to work their way towards earning a salary in this range. What you can make depends largely on your level of experience and state in which you practice. Learn more about the average medical assistant salary and find an estimate from the BLS in your state.
2. Hands-on role in patient care
Medical assistants are an important liaison between the physician and the patient. Sometimes, medical jargon can be difficult for a patient to interpret. As a medical assistant, you help a patient understand the physician’s instructions. Medical assistants also help prepare patients for examination, administer medication and treatment and assist the physician during exams. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) play a similar role in patient care, but they typically work in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Medical assistants play a supporting role to physicians and RNs in medical offices, clinics and hospitals. They are often the ones who have the most direct contact with a patient and the ones who help patients feel at ease.
3. The fast-track to a career in healthcare
While doctors and RNs have to spend years in school before they are certified, medical assistants may be able to receive their diploma (DMAS) in as little as 12 months. Students may also choose to pursue their associate in medical assisting (AAMAS); receiving your degree in as little as 16-20 months. If you’re looking for a faster entry point to a career in healthcare, a diploma medical assisting program might be the right path for you.