Medical Assistants

  1. Description

Medicine and Health Care

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Medical assistants are often the backbone of doctors’ offices.

Some assistants sit at the front desk and check patients in when they arrive for an appointment. Others show patients to the exam room, take histories, prepare them for the doctor’s exam, and even assist during the exam. Still other assistants handle insurance forms and referrals or billing. In some small practices, medical assistants may handle all of the above -- and more.

Medical assistants keep doctors' offices and clinics running smoothly. Their tasks are often clerical but also involve patient contact and care.

Did You Know?

The clinical duties of medical assistants depend in part on state law. In some states, they’re allowed to draw blood, remove stitches, and authorize drug refills.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Answer phones
  • Complete insurance forms
  • Change dressings
  • Look after equipment and instruments used in examining rooms
  • Balance office tasks with your responsibility to patient needs
  • Learn new technology and skills quickly

It Helps To Be...

A good communicator who is organized and discreet. Medical assistants are often the first and last person a patient sees in a doctor’s office. They also handle personal records and documents for billing and insurance, and must therefore be respectful of patient privacy.

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of math and science courses.
  • Enhance your communication skills through English composition, drama, and speech classes.
  • Study a foreign language so you’ll be able to reach out to and communicate with different communities and patients.
  • Volunteer at a health clinic, a hospital, a women’s clinic, or an eldercare facility.
  • Build computer and other office skills.

Did You Know?

After years on the job, some medical assistants become managers of medical offices or group practices.