Medical Assisting Education and Career Preparation Options

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Written By RobertMaxfield

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Working inside the healthcare field as a medical assistant has professionals performing a wide range of office and clinical duties. In order to be qualified for positions students need to successfully complete the required level of training. Students that have a desire to enter the medical assisting field can enter several training opportunities.

Students that complete programs offered by various vocational colleges have the best professional opportunities. Programs are available at the certificate and associate’s degree level of training. Through these career preparation programs students develop a wide range of skills that are used constantly inside the workplace. When pursuing an education and career students need to be aware of the difference between medical and physician assistants. The reason for this important distinction is that medical assisting is a different profession than physician assisting.

*Medical Assisting

In a standard office professionals update and maintain patient files. Administrative duties also include answering phones, scheduling appointments, and filling out insurance forms. Clinical duties include performing laboratory tests such as collecting specimens and sterilizing medical instruments. Professionals also explain procedures to patients, record vital signs, and remove stitches.

*Physician Assisting

The main responsibilities of a physician assistant is to work with doctors on examining, diagnosing, and treating patients. Under supervision they record medical histories, perform laboratory tests, and prescribe certain medications.

Students that want to step inside career positions as medical assistants need to research programs to ensure they enter the correct training. Certificate programs are a great starting point for students that want to enter the industry quickly. Programs last one year and focus on just the material needed to become a successful assistant. Programs will explore different subjects that teach students how to conduct laboratory tasks, run computer applications, and maintain clerical duties. Courses give an equal amount of time to both clerical and clinical duties. Medical terminology, medical documentation, insurance billing, laboratory procedure, and anatomy are some courses completed. Further education can be completed inside other certification programs, which prepare students to work in specific areas such as optometry and radiology.

Academic studies in biology, English, and other general coursework compliments the medical training needed to be successful inside associate degree programs. Students will study all the practices that make up today’s industry. Aseptic techniques, examination procedures, and transcription practices are all explored through coursework. Students typically work through clinical courses, which may take the form of internships. Inside these types of courses students work inside medical offices practicing the skills they obtained inside schooling. Health care law, medical coding, office administration software, and physiology are all course topics explored in depth when completing a training program. Once coursework is completed students are prepared to gain certification.

Being certified, although not required, is extremely beneficial inside the professional workplace. It distinguishes students and gives them the opportunity to advance and obtain higher salaries.

Students can work towards entering careers by enrolling in accredited medial assistant colleges that offer programs that match their schooling needs. Full accreditation is provided to quality programs by agencies like the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools ( ). Begin training and become a professional in two years or less.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised on our website.

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Renata McGee is a staff writer for Locate Medical Assisting Schools and Colleges as well as Online Medical Assistant Schools and Colleges at, your Partners in Education and Tuition Assistance Programs.