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Planning a Medical Assistant Career

The Department of Labor reports that the fastest growing career in the health care sector is medical
assisting right after nursing. The first step when deciding on a fitting career right after high school is to take
time to assess what interests you and what you do well. It is also important to explore the educational,
training and job requirements and prerequisites in your area.

Another important consideration when planning a new career is the going pay rate, job advancement
opportunities and earning potential in your area. Positions for medical assistants, office managers,
coordinators, administrators, nurses, technologists, coders and billers, receptionists, schedulers,
secretaries, clerks and aides open and close daily. There also are hundreds of medical specialty offices
looking for additional permanent staff and temporary assistance.

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a physician.
Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing and
coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include rooming patients, taking and recording vital
signs, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood and administering medications as directed by the
physician. If you are contemplating to go in this direction we can show you the first steps and point out
additional career opportunities in the health care field.

Employment in Medical Assisting

As the largest industry health care provides millions of jobs-13.1 million jobs for wage and salary workers and about 411,000 jobs for self-employed and unpaid family workers alone. Of the 13.1 million wage and salary jobs, 41 percent were in hospitals; another 22 percent were in nursing and residential care facilities; and 16 percent were in offices of physicians.

Rapid growth is expected in private practices, health maintenance organizations (HMO), medical centers and hospital outpatient facilities that provide walk in services, same-day surgery, emergency and week end care and physical rehabilitation therapy. Many of these facilities employ medical assistants. Their average salary varies from state to state based on education, training, qualifications, credentials and years of experience.

• Outpatient care centers: $25,360
General medical and surgical hospitals: $25,160
Physician's offices: $24,930
Offices of other health practitioners: $21,930

An increasing number of medical procedures once performed only in hospitals are now also being performed in physicians’ offices and in outpatient care centers, such as free standing ambulatory surgical and emergency centers. Accordingly, employment is expected to grow very fast as opportunities in health care expand.

Education: High School, moderate-term on-the-job training, post-secondary vocational diploma, or Associate's degree, CPR certification. Attention: Although certified medical assistants are trained in phlebotomy, EKG, and X-ray procedures many states now mandate that anybody performing these skills must have a specific license to do so.

Openings: 68,000
Projected Employment: 690,400
Median Annual Earnings: $24,610

(Source U.S. Department of Labor)
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