From the desk of Specialty Recruiter Myra Penton, CSP
Medical assistant jobs are one of the fastest-growing jobs in the country. If you think you would like to step into a new role working in hospitals, clinics or offices helping people get healthy, consider a career as a medical office assistant. Here is a look at what these professionals do so you can see whether such a career path is right for you.
Medical office assistants are also known as medical assistants (not to be confused with physician assistants) and are tasked with taking down medical histories, measuring vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, book patient appointments and enter patient information online. They are able to perform both administrative tasks and some medical duties with the support and supervision of a health practitioner such as a doctor. They might be designated by specialization within a larger practice, including clinical medical assistant, ophthalmic medical assistant, administrative medical assistant and so on. They are often tasked with giving injections as directed by doctors, preparing blood or other samples for lab testing and helping with medical exams.
Medical office assistants have at least some degree of higher education but also typically receive on-the-job training from the hiring physician. Many medical assistant programs are also available through vocational schools and community colleges, which can provide a more thorough education in the discipline. Programs can be up to two years and earn an associate degree with both classroom and practical training. Students often study subjects such as laboratory procedure, medical law and ethics, medical insurance and billing, clinical assisting, patient care and nutrition.
Skills and Experience
For entry-level positions, often little to no experience is required. But medical office assistants need to have certain skills to be well suited for the role. Organizational skills are important, as are good people skills as they interact with others more or less throughout the work day. Computer skills and familiarity with basic productivity software is standard as well. Above all, candidates need to be willing to learn new skills and processes on the job in order to be the support that doctors and other healthcare professionals need.
Compensation and Prospects
The average salary of a medical office assistant is about $30,000 but can reach more than $40,000 per year. The highest-paying employers were scientific research and development services, which averaged an hourly rate of $17.81. California as a state saw the highest rate of opportunities in this field, and Alaska saw the highest wages with an average hourly rate of $18.84 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The field is expected to see an increase in positions by more than 30 percent in the next ten years. Compare that with the 14 percent increase expected for all occupations, and 25 percent increase predicted for other health-care support occupations. An aging population in the U.S. is spurring demand for assistants who can handle simple tasks and lessen the workload for doctors across the country. And as patient documentation is moving to cloud-based and electronic health record systems, candidates with familiarity and experience using such programs will likely have an edge over their competition.
To learn more about opportunities in the healthcare field, connect with a recruiter at PSG Mississippi today.
Myra Penton, CSP – Specialty Recruiter
Whether you are an existing client, an employer looking for the best fit for your next hire, or the star candidate ready to be placed with one of PSG’s fabulous client companies, you can count on me to be your advocate! Many PSG recruiters have first-hand employment experience in their recruitment specialty area; I am a former legal secretary with years of office administration experience. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I love that I have the chance to make a real difference in someone’s life each day.