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Popular Medical Assisting Careers

Medical Assitant

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants duties vary from recording vital signs, prepping treatment rooms to administering medication as directed by a physician.

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Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding professionals listen to orally recorded notes that doctors create and convert them into written reports.

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Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistant

Providing basic care, Certified Nursing Assistants help patients with everyday activities of daily living. They may record vital signs, measure food and liquid intake etc.

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What is Medical Assisting

Medical assisting is a fast growing career which typically requires working with physicians and patients and performing duties such as taking patient history and vital signs, assisting the doctor with examinations, carrying out physician orders, such as injections or preparingblood for laboratory tests, and scheduling patient appointments.

There is also the option to become a medical administrative assistant, which typically requires supporting doctors and physicians, while coordinating medical office operations. In small offices, medical administrators may handle everything from appointment setting and office supplies, to insurance billing and patient records. In larger facilities, medical administrators may devote more time to a specific job function or to executive support (calendar management, travel arrangements, research assistance) for a particular physician.

Both medical assistant and medical administrative assistant training can be offered through online medical assisting programs or courses at a physical campus. Programs may require an externship, which is hands-on training that can prepare you for what you will encounter as a medical assistant.

FAQs About a Medical Assistant


You may be wondering what is a medical assistant, exactly, and what role do these professionals play in the health care industry? Check out answers to some commonly-asked questions below, so you can find out if a medical assistant career is the perfect fit for you!

Q: What do medical assistants do?

Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who perform administrative and/or clinical tasks that keep medical and health practices running smoothly. They typically work in physicians’ offices or other healthcare facilities, where they perform support tasks like answering phones, scheduling appointments, taking patients’ vital signs, and much more. Medical assistant duties vary depending on your employer, so the exact definition of a medical assistant could depend on where you work. A large practice could have both administrative and clinical medical assistants that perform different sets of duties, while a smaller practice may have fewer medical assistants who handle both office work and patient care tasks.

Q: What is a medical assistant?

Again, medical assistant duties depend on the needs of your employer but typically play an important role in patient care and education. They often explain procedures to patients or instruct them on proper diet and medications. Administrative medical assistant duties may include coding patients’ medical information and billing insurance companies for medical services, among other tasks. Clinical medical assistants may draw blood, prepare patients for x-rays, change wound dressings, and perform other healthcare services, depending on state regulations. Managing a variety of diverse responsibilities, following best practices for safety and hygiene, practicing good communication skills, and exhibiting a caring manner are just a few typical expectations for medical assistants.

Q: How do I become a medical assistant?

Most medical assistants have some postsecondary education in this field, such as a medical assisting degree, diploma, or certificate. Programs for medical assistants are usually available at vocational schools, community colleges, and even online. A certificate or diploma program may take about one year to complete, while earning an associate’s degree could take around two years for a full-time student. Typical programs cover areas like medical terminology, human anatomy, and other essential knowledge areas for a medical assisting career. In addition, programs generally include both classroom and laboratory work. While postsecondary education is not required by law, employers may prefer candidates with formal training. Certification for medical assistants is also optional, but again, this credential may be preferred or required by employers. To earn certification, you may need to graduate from an approved medical assisting program, pass an exam, or do both, depending on the organization that is awarding your certification.