If you're curious about pursuing a career in the medical field but are not interested in medical school or a nursing program, there are plenty of options available to you. From biomedicine to respiratory therapy, the options are almost limitless. If you like to split your time between hands-on patient contact and medical office work, medical assisting may be the right choice for you.
Here's everything you need to know about medical assistant programs, from courses and hands-on training to externships and certification.
What Is a Medical Assistant?
A medical assistant is a vital member of any healthcare team. They are an integral part of any healthcare team, providing both administrative and clinical support to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to keep things running smoothly in doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals. So if you're interested in helping others and have a passion for medicine, becoming a medical assistant might be the perfect career choice for you.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants perform a variety of tasks in healthcare settings, including:
In some states, medical assistants may be able to perform more advanced tasks, such as removing sutures or assisting with minor surgery.
What Courses Do You Study in Medical Assistant Programs?
To become a medical assistant, most states require people to have at least a high school diploma, be of legal age, and complete a postsecondary medical assistant program from an accredited institution. Medical assistant programs typically include a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on components. Here are some of the topics you can expect to study:
Upon completing your medical assistant program, you will likely need to complete an externship to gain real-world experience working alongside licensed healthcare professionals. Externships typically last several weeks and provide students with an opportunity to apply the skills they've learned in the classroom in a real-life setting.
Although certification is not mandatory for medical assistants in all states, many employers prefer or require certification as proof of your competency. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential by passing a computer-based exam.
A career as a medical assistant can be extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally. If you're considering embarking on this path, remember to do your research to choose a reputable medical assistant program that fits your needs and goals. With the right education and training, you can launch a successful career in this in-demand field.
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