Working In a Hospital or Doctor's Office is Very Rewarding
Medical Assistants perform many functions, including dispensing medication. This is a respected profession in high demand, and it requires substantially less education than becoming a physician.
Are you interested in working in the medical field, but you do not have the time or money to go spend four or more years in college? You may find that entry level medical assistant jobs are one of the fastest ways to start a new career as a medical professional. Becoming a medical assistant is a fast growing career that is in high demand. As our population ages, it is predicted that the demand for employees in the medical field will continue to grow. Because of this, people in all areas of medicine expect to have strong job security.
What is it like to be a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants play a vital role in heath care. When you visit a doctor's office or hospital, it is often a medical assistant who works at the front desk completing the paperwork necessary for your appointment. They will take your blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, weigh and measure a patient, remind patients about their medications and diets and assist patients by performing other routine duties. Since there are so many different medical specialties, the duties of the assistants who work in different fields can also vary widely. Sometimes they draw blood samples and prepare specimens for lab tests. These assistants also maintain clinical records and medical charts. There are also opportunities for traveling jobs, as well. Some assistants specialize in the field of geriatrics. These professionals may travel to different nursing homes and skilled medical facilities in their communities. Because medical assistants work with the public, they need to be well-groomed, friendly and polite. They must also be willing and able to protect patient confidentiality.
How Much Training is Required?
Although you do not need to have a four year college degree, you will need to complete a one or two year medical assistant certificate program. These are usually offered at community colleges and vocational or technical schools. Since community colleges are so affordable, you should check out those in your area before applying to a technical school. Community College certificate programs are often of very high quality. In addition to the general certificate, you may also want to take extra training in a medical specialty, such as becoming an x-ray technician. Or, you may want to work in a pediatrician's office. In this case, you might want to be trained as a sonogram technician. How exciting it would be to be the first person to show new parents the sonograms of their developing baby! As you can see, your specific training will be influenced by the type of specialist you may be working for. However, you can start out by just getting your basic medical assistant certification, and finding a job. Then, if you wish to advance in your career, you will be expected to periodically take continuing education classes. These are designed to keep your skills current. Sometimes, the continuing education classes will be paid for by your employer. For example, if you work in a hospital that has purchased new equipment, they will usually pay to have all their employees trained to use that equipment. In other cases, such as if you want to move up to a supervisory position, you may have to pay for the continuing education yourself. Once you have started working in this field, you can decide whether you want to pursue higher goals or if you are content with the position you have.
When you are ready to take your exam at the end of your coursework, you may want to use this direct Amazon link to the "Medical Assistant Exam Review" book. It will help you review all the information you learned so you can do well on the exam.
What If I Cannot Afford the Classes?
Just because you do not have money saved to pay for your education, this does not mean that you cannot go to school. You may be eligible for a scholarship or grant based on financial need. In addition, most students are eligible for student loans which you usually are not required to begin repaying until a few months after you have graduated. Study hard, get good grades, and you will quickly find a job after graduation that will enable you to repay your student loans. However, don't forget to consider attending a Community College program, if one is available in your area. This will be the least expensive way to get the training you need, and minimize the size of your student loans.
How Do You Find a Job as a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants work in hospitals, doctor's offices, imaging centers, surgical centers, clinics and similar medical facilities. Because they usually perform their services during normal doctor's hours, they typically work a 40 hour, Monday through Friday, schedule. If they work in a hospital, however, they may be scheduled for weekends or evening shifts. Most schools that provide training in this field also will assist their graduates in finding a job placement. In addition, you may want to apply personally to local hospitals and physician's offices. In larger communities, there may be private employment agencies that specialize in placing people in the medical field.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Earn?
Medical Assistants earn from about $20,000 a year to around $35,000, but the median salary is approximately $30,000 a year. Those that work in hospitals tend to earn more than those that work in doctor's offices, clinics and other facilities. Salaries are also affected by experience, additional training that you have and the area where you live. There are also part time assistant jobs that pay less, but allow you a flexible schedule.
If you enjoy working with people, and are interested in a reasonably secure job in the medical profession, becoming a medical assistant may be perfect for you.
If you are interested in more information about finding a job, you may also want to read:
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