Becoming a Medical Assistant: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Are you thinking about becoming a medical assistant, but you’re unsure if you can handle the responsibilities? The dominant role of a medical assistant is to aid medical professionals while helping to keep the facility running smoothly, however, an assistant can be instructed to handle many different tasks.

One of these tasks, for instance, could be patient care or administrative work. If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a medical assistant, it’s important that you know all aspects of the job, good or bad.

The Good

Outlook

Expected to be in demand for the next decade, medical assistants are a crucial part of the health care system. By entering this field, you have access to existing jobs that will remain secure in the future. Another possibility is that as the health care system continues to expand, there might come  a time when there is a shortage of this personnel.

Brief Training

Medical assistant jobs require far less training compared to doctors who are in training for eight or more years. If you want to become a medical assistant, you can complete a program in one year or less and even faster if the training is provided by an employer.

Specialization Options

Within the medical assistant career field are opportunities to specialize in areas such as education, psychiatry and general medicine. If you are looking to advance your career and learn new things, then specializing in a particular area of the field will put you at an advantage.

Communicating With Patients

Many consider the interactions between assistant and patient an initiative for getting into this field of work. These interactions (preparing a patient for surgery, assisting people with limited mobility, or measuring blood pressure) are what separates medical assistants from other administrative health care positions.

The Bad

Stress

Due to the stressful nature of the job, medical assistants have to be able to multitask between patient care and clerical tasks. For instance, if a rush of patients creates a backlog, you have to be able to manage the stress and make that extra effort to resolve the problem.

Hours Are Irregular

Like any job in the medical field, medical assistants at some point or another will experience working irregular hours. If you are thinking about pursuing a job as medical assistant, it is important to prepare yourself for the hours you might be set to work. For example, you could be required to work nights and weekends in rotating shifts, with some shifts being much longer than traditional work hours.

Low Pay

With the annual salary averaging at around $29,000, which is roughly $14 an hour, medical assistants do not make nearly as much money as other medical professionals. That said, this salary is still higher than other starting salaries for careers outside of the healthcare industry.

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