The role of a certified clinical medical assistant is essential to the smooth running of medical facilities and health providers.
Becoming a medical assistant can be a good choice for your career path. The average median salary for a certified clinical medical assistant in 2021 was $37,190. There also appears to be a positive job outlook and great avenues for job progression as this article will explain.
We aim to explore the demand for the role and growth opportunities available to those that become certified medical assistants.
Keep reading to learn more about this rewarding job role, and the potential demand predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Demand for Medical Assistants
One of the main questions people may ask when considering their career is, “are medical assistants in demand?”. The simple answer to that is that there is a strong demand for certified medical assistants in healthcare facilities across the U.S.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a growth of 16% between 2021 and 2031. This is significantly faster than the national average.
The demand for certified medical assistants is spurred by the aging population in America. As healthcare improves, the number of elderly residents that require medical assistance more frequently grows.
Certified medical assistants help with patients and administrative work in healthcare facilities.
The role of a medical assistant will see them perform routine administrative and clinical duties. These include:
- Maintaining electronic health records
- Taking vital signs
- Updating the patient’s medical records
- Educating patients
Medical assistants work in a range of environments, including:
- Physicians offices
- Outpatient care centers
- Private healthcare facilities
- Chiropractor offices
- Other healthcare facilities
The growth of the healthcare industry means that there is a far wider scope for medical assistants to find job opportunities.
In comparison to the job growth of registered nurses, career opportunities for certified medical assistants are growing significantly faster.
Registered nurse job growth is predicted to grow at the national average of just 6% between 2021 and 2031.
This makes becoming a medical assistant an appealing option. Job security is a major factor in a career change or advancement.
Job prospects for medical assistants are very good. This is because of the projected growth and demand for medical assistants across a broad range of healthcare disciplines. It ensures graduates from medical assistant programs have an excellent chance of finding work.
The duties medical assistants typically carry out include administrative and clinical tasks. This prepares them for a rich and varied career with countless potential avenues for growth.
Technological Advances in Medical Assisting
Technical advances in healthcare are streamlining roles and making them more efficient. The use of electronic health records makes it easier for a certified medical administrative assistant to record valuable information.
The collection of data has been improved through technology across the board. This includes the use of mobile apps and remote appointments made by video call.
Medical assistants are trained to take and collate the patient’s health information, and then present it to other healthcare staff. Technological demands have improved efficiency in doing this. Therefore, medical assistants must be trained and familiarized with this technology.
Inputting the patient’s medical history into electronic health records makes information more accessible, which is why learning how to use electronic systems will be essential for medical assistants. The safeguarding of patients’ privacy and data is also very important.
Telemedicine offers far greater convenience for those seeking checkups or appointments. The system grew in popularity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as virtual sessions minimized face-to-face contact. The time taken for appointments and the resulting cost was reduced as a result of this.
Virtual sessions are also convenient for patients with difficulty getting to and from medical offices. Medical assistants can collate valuable information by using this kind of technology.
The use of mobile apps to arrange and book appointments and input health updates is a great use of technology. A medical assistant will be tasked with collating the data and managing appointments or schedules.
Technology moves quickly. Therefore, it is essential that certified medical assistants maintain their education. This allows them to upskill on new developments that will make their roles more efficient.
Growth Opportunities for Medical Assistants
Becoming a medical assistant offers many opportunities for career advancement.
A certified medical assistant has the potential to specialize in a number of areas. These include, but are not limited to:
There are also opportunities to move into other healthcare roles. The skill set gained as a national certified medical assistant will help you to prepare for further education. This includes roles in:
- Medical Technology
Some roles that medical assistants can lead in include:
Medical and health services manager
A role as a medical and health services manager will typically require a bachelor’s degree, but master’s degree will improve your employment chances even further.
This role is typically suited to those with a background in healthcare administrative and clinical work.
These positions can usually be found in hospitals and care facilities. Job responsibilities include:
- Finance management
- Staff management
- Budget control
- Code compliance
- Integrating technology
- Improving healthcare efficiency
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
The role of a medical record and health information technician will require certification from an accredited program, and an associate degree may be required in some cases.
The role is most typically located in hospitals but can also be found in other healthcare settings like physicians’ offices.
The duties of this role include:
- Updating patient records
- Electronic health record management
- Patient outcome tracking
- Ensuring patient privacy
- Classification software use
A role as a surgical technologist requires additional education that can be acquired through an accredited program. These courses can take anywhere between months and years to complete. The CST and NCCT certifications are a good place to start.
The duties of a surgical technologist include:
- Sterilization of medical equipment
- Preparing patients for procedures
- Preparing medical areas and operating rooms
- Assisting during procedures
- Medical supply counts
- Sterile environment maintenance
Many registered nurses require a bachelor’s degree to work in hospitals. They must also be state licensed and must pass the NCLEX-RN at an accredited program.
Most registered nurses will find positions in hospitals. Responsibilities of the role include:
- Patient care
- Administering medication
- Patient monitoring
- Operating medical equipment
- Monitoring medical equipment
- Patient education
A registered medical assistant is a valued and essential role in facilities that provide medical care.
Their administrative responsibilities improve efficiency, which helps with clear communication and accurate record-keeping.
The demand for medical assistants is predicted to rise at almost three times the national average. This makes it an excellent career path for people that want job security.
The opportunity to use medical assisting as a way to enter healthcare is a good way for people to get valuable experience. This experience can be used to pursue further education or management roles.
As the healthcare sector continues to grow the need for a registered medical assistant will grow too. With great job prospects and the potential for growth, it is an excellent career choice.
How has the role of medical assistants evolved over time?
The role of medical assistants has grown to embrace technology over time. As technology advances, so do the possibilities for ways it can help in the medical field.
Medical assistants regularly use and train in new technologies to assist in administrative tasks.
What challenges do medical assistants face in their careers?
Medical assistants face the same challenges as any medical professional. Medical emergencies and difficult patients can pose the biggest challenges.
A well-trained medical assistant will have the knowledge to deal with most challenges.
Experienced medical assistants can be essential members of healthcare teams in emergencies. They are also invaluable when dealing with patients.
What work schedules do medical assistants have?
The work schedules of medical assistants will depend on where they are based.
Medical assistants that work in hospitals will typically work shifts that cover all hours. This can include:
A medical assistant that works in a physician’s office will be required during their opening times.
It is essential that you explore what shift patterns will be expected of you when applying for a job as a medical assistant.