Spotlight on Certified Medical Assistants: At the Front Line of Patient Care

Healthcare isn’t just about finding cures or making people better when they get sick. It is also about prevention— limiting the long-term risks to your health. When we think of frontline clinical staff, we think of the physicians, surgeons, nurses, and paramedics who provide medical attention to patients, both in emergencies and day-to-day.

We have discussed the impact of an aging population and growing levels of chronic obesity, but it is clear that Certified Medical Assistants will be at the forefront of preventative patient care as demands on the healthcare system increase. For anyone looking to make a career change, there is a high level of job security in the healthcare industry.

While individual responsibilities may vary depending on each workplace, Certified Medical Assistants are the bridge between two worlds: the clinical and the clerical. It is the clinical duties that differentiate this position from other medical administration occupations. Fortunately, these healthcare careers do not require a four-year degree before you can improve your family’s situation.

The increasing need for healthcare administrators means that there is plenty of upward mobility, not to mention appropriate pay. In addition to improving your current career prospects, you can rest easy knowing that your job prospects will continue to flourish over time, thanks to the evergreen need for Certified Medical Assistants.

Quality healthcare necessarily involves multiple stakeholders. To work as a Certified Medical Assistant,  you need:

  • Strong teamwork skills
  • Compassion and care for patients
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Punctuality

Job Requirements

Depending on the environment where you work, the duties of the Certified Medical Assistant can vary. You will need to have a firm understanding of a wide range of clerical tasks,  including making appointments, answering phones, updating patient records, and billing for procedures.

On top of these administrative tasks, Certified Medical Assistants are expected to assist physicians and other medical professionals as they provide primary care to patients. This could include collecting specimens, monitoring vital signs, give immunizations, taking blood, providing nutrition advice and administering medications.

You will also need to have a handle on healthcare-specific technology, including software that manages electronics records, pharmaceutical registers, appointment scheduling, internal messaging and other diagnostic tools and machines.

Above all else, you really need to have a passion for caring. Since you will be in direct contact with patients, you need to be able to clearly communicate, have really good active listening skills, and a desire to help people. Not only will you find that your work improves the financial side of your life, but you will also find the job satisfaction you’ve been looking for.

Employment Statistics

There are currently 623,560 Medical Assistants employed in the US,  57,960 of which are based in Texas. The second highest concentration of Medical Assistants in the US can be found in the  Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division where 5.71 jobs in every 1000 are Medical Assistants, compared to 4.93 per 1000 in Texas as a whole.

As physicians seek to devote more time to diagnosis and treatment of their patients, more Medical Assistants will be required to undertake both clerical and clinical tasks in their place.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Medical Assistants is tipped to increase by 23%, with an estimated 730,200 Medical Assistants to be employed by 2024, up from 591,300 in 2014. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all other occupations and is even higher than that for Health Information Technicians.

If you are willing to get the certificates to become a medical assistant, you will have no problem getting, and keeping a job in Texas. Employers will more quickly higher applicants who are already certified and trained for the job they are applying for. These certificates will significantly cut down on the amount of time and money your new employers will have to spend training you. This makes you a very valuable and sought-after applicant.

Primary healthcare essentials

In healthcare, especially in administrative roles, there is considerable overlap in the hard and soft skills. Attention to detail, confidentiality, and medical terminology are essential, in addition to organizational and clerical skills.

But Certified Medical Assistants require these skills and more. To take on this role, you will also need to undertake basic clinical tasks to provide assistance to physicians and other health professionals. These tasks include explaining and preparing patients to be treated, collecting samples and performing basic lab tests, taking EKGs and checking blood pressure, changing dressings, and general assistance during examinations.

Certified Medical Assistants need to have knowledge of the human body (both anatomy and physiology) and medical terminology so that they can respond to requests and ensure the accuracy of medical records.

Primary health care staff, regardless of training levels, are expected to provide guidance to patients on living a healthier life. This includes being able to provide nutrition and weight-loss advice along with tips for smoking cessation and other preventative care that can reduce a patient’s reliance on the healthcare system over their lifetime.

According to the BLS, it will be those Certified Medical Assistants with knowledge of electronic health records and appropriate certification that will have more success finding work as their expertise will increasingly be needed to meet the growing workload.

While you might assume this is knowledge you would get only from a four-year degree program, these positions often value certifications over degrees. It should take you less than a year to earn the certifications you will need to be well-versed in everything you will need to do as a medical assistant. When developing your technical skills for these positions you should look for programs that qualify you to undertake National Healthcareer Association certification exams, such as Clinical Medical Assistant; Certified Phlebotomy Technician; CPR; and, HIPAA Privacy.

Keeping calm under pressure

Working in healthcare can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. While Medical Assistants will usually work under the supervision of a physician or other health professional, you never know when an emergency situation will arise. Keeping calm in tough situations, and being able to recover afterward, will prove essential if you want to go down this career path.

I always say there is one big difference between hospitality and healthcare. In hospitality, you need to look busy even if you’re not. In healthcare, you need to look relaxed and calm even when you’re busy and stressed. Healthcare workers can find this very challenging. It is essential though in any type of healthcare environment to keep calm so that your patient can find the ability to stay calm through your demeanor.

Job Opportunities

The workplaces that require Medical Assistants are fairly self-explanatory, with by far the most Medical Assistants employed in doctors offices (over 360,0000 in the U.S.), hospitals, aged care facilities, and other health professional offices. You can find positions available in Dallas Fort Worth on Indeed, with new jobs being added daily.

There are also opportunities to specialize in various medical fields, for example, weight-loss and nutrition, pediatrics, podiatry, occupational therapy, dentistry, physical therapy, or optometry. Keep an eye out for jobs with the following titles:

  • Medical Assistant
  • Clinical Laboratory Aide
  • Blood Bank Donor Unit Assistant
  • Front Office Assistant
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant

There’s a big difference between a Medical Assistant and a Physician’s Assistant with the latter focusing on clinical duties, including diagnosis, and requiring a higher level of medical knowledge and training.

At CCI Training Center, you will find the programs you need to enter the healthcare industry confidently. Our programs are year round, so another class is always very close to starting. Many of our programs only have class one or two days a week. As most of our students are adults who already have the responsibility of family and a mortgage, we understand that you cannot quit your current job to train for your new career. Some of the studying can even be done from home.

Our instructors have either worked, or are still working in the healthcare industry. You get the benefit of their real world knowledge. Our student population has a great deal of returning students who are adding to the certifications they already have. They are already working in the healthcare industry and may be the start of your professional network.

If you prefer a job where you deal directly with the public, your tasks are varied, your days are full, and you can make a real difference to people’s lives, visit our website to find out more about Medical Assisting and how CCI Training Center can help you get the qualifications you need.