Medical Assistants play a vital role in the management and efficient operations of doctors' offices, clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities. They perform many administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician or nurse practitioner. Administrative duties may include welcoming patients, scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, bookkeeping, insurance billing and coding. Clinical duties may include recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, assisting the physician during an exam, collecting blood and other lab specimens, and administering medications as directed.
Most employers prefer graduates from formal training programs in medical assisting such as those offered in postsecondary vocational schools or community colleges. If you plan to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), you must attend and graduate from an accredited medical assisting program, and then pass a certification examination given by the accrediting organization. Training programs are usually 18 months (vocational schools) to 2 years (community colleges) for an associate degree. Schools also include an externship or actual job experience as part of the program. Job prospects are best for those with degrees and industry certification.
Links to Additional Career Information
Community Colleges' Health Program Directory http://ca-hwi.org/
Explore Health Careers - Medical Assistant www.explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career.36.aspx
U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guides www.bls.gov/oco/ocos164.htm
Medical Board of California www.medbd.ca.gov
California Medical Assistants Association http://www.cmaa-ca.org/
Medical Assisting Certifying Agencies
California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants (CCBMA) www.ccbma.org
American Medical Technologists www.amt1.com
American Association of Medical Assistants www.aama-ntl.org
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