How to Become a Medical Assistant

Considering a career as a Medical Assistant? Here are few things you need to know. Medical Assistants work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, ambulatory care, and other settings. Where there is a physician there is a Medical Assistant, helping behind the scenes with patient care. They are trained to perform administrative and clinical assignments.

Medical Assistants play a major role in the day-to-day operations of a medical facility. They perform certain tasks that otherwise would have to be done by doctors, nurses, and other medical Health Professionals. 


First of all, what does it mean to be a Medical Assistant?

Medical Assistants work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, ambulatory care, and other settings. Where there is a physician there is a Medical Assistant, helping behind the scenes with patient care. They are trained to perform administrative and clinical assignments.

Medical Assistants must display a wide range of specific skills and more than basic medical knowledge. You must demonstrate a high level of accuracy, adaptability, collaboration, teamwork, multitasking, prioritizing, and interpersonal skills. But above all, you have to be a people person and a great communicator because you will be interacting with patients at all times. If you have an outgoing personality, a positive attitude, you smile a lot, you are an emphatic active listener then this is a great careers choice for you.

To be successful in this profession you need to be highly proficient in the following (this is just a partial list):

Administrative tasks: answering phones and taking messages, scheduling, checking in and checking out patients, managing medical records, verifying insurance coverage, completing and submitting insurance claims, performing medical coding and billing, arranging for patient’s hospitalization, providing customer service to patients.

Clinical tasks: documenting the medical history and vital signs, discussing treatment procedures with patients, setting up and preparing the patient for examinations and test procedures, collect and catalog laboratory specimens, execute standard lab tests, give assistance to doctors and nurses through examinations and treatments, disposal of the contaminated supplies, disinfecting medical instruments. taking electrocardiograms, the removal stitches, preparing patients for x-rays, replacing dressings.

The scope of responsibilities depends on the services a medical facility provides. Some tasks can be learned on the job, but these days employers prefer employees with experience, degree, certification, or a combination of all of them. In a busy medical facility, there is usually little time and only a few resources available to train a new employee. Therefore more knowledgeable you are in this profession and the more tasks you can perform without supervision from day one, the more valuable you are.


The above are only examples of possible responsibilities assigned to you depending on the work environment. You will never get bored As a Medical Assistant and there is always room to grow, more opportunities, and the possibility of growing into a more specialized career path for example: medical coding and billing, EKG specialist, health management, Nurse, etc. Medical Assistant can be your gateway to greater things. 


  • Answering phones and taking messages.
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments.
  • Checking in and checking outpatients.
  • Managing medical records.
  • Verifying insurance coverage.
  • Completing and submitting insurance claims.
  • Performing medical coding and billing.
  • Processing patients’ payments for medical services.
  • Arranging for patients hospitalization.
  • Providing customer service to patients.
  • document medical history and vital signs,
  • discuss treatment procedures and options with patients,
  • set up and prepare the patient for examinations and test procedures,
  • collect and catalog laboratory specimens,
  • execute standard lab tests,
  • give assistance to doctors and nurses through examinations and treatments,
  • dispose of the contaminated supplies,
  • disinfect medical instruments,
  • take electrocardiograms,
  • remove stitches,
  • prepare patients for x-rays,
  • replace dressings.

Pay And Job Outlook

The healthcare industry is in demand for highly trained office staff in medical office administration, procedures, Medical Terminology and technology, medical law, and ethics. Additionally managing health records and medical billing is becoming much more high-tech. Medical Administrative Assistants with electronic health records (EHR), medical coding, and billing training are becoming the new standard. This is one of the fastest-growing careers in the healthcare industry. CMAA’s can work at clinics, urgent care facilities, dental offices, Nursing homes, chiropractic offices, hospitals, insurance companies.

According to Salary.comThe median annual Medical Assistant salary is $33,733, as of November 28, 2017, with a range usually between $31,097-$36,427, however, this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Our team of Certified Compensation Health Professionals has analyzed survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this range of annual salaries for people with the job title Medical Assistant in the United States.


Medical Assistant Salaries by Percentile




Last Updated

10th Percentile Medical Assistant Salary



November 28, 2019

25th Percentile Medical Assistant Salary



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50th Percentile Medical Assistant Salary



November 28, 2019

75th Percentile Medical Assistant Salary



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90th Percentile Medical Assistant Salary



November 28, 2019

According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics:” Employment of Medical Assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to increase the demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more Assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients. An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly Medical Assistants, to complete both administrative and clinical duties. Medical Assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry. In addition, the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform, increasing patient access to medical care. Medical Assistants who earn certification and have familiarity with EHRs may have better job prospects.”


Benefits Of Becoming A Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants are a central source to clinics and hospitals. Doctors and nurses rely on the Medical Assistants to effectively communicate a patient’s information to other health professions and conduct procedures efficiently to assure a patient’s visits run smoothly.

While on the clock as a Medical Assistant, you will be very busy and take on a variety of roles and operations in a medical office or clinical setting. You’ll interact with different types of individuals of all ages and medical staff of mostly all the health professions because you’ll be the first to meet with and convey the patients’ health information. You can expect to continually improve your communication skills along with refining your soft skills as you become an expert at a sought-after clinical specialty.

Medical assisting is an outstanding health career course with plenty of room for advancement and typically a launching point for many hospital occupations and health care careers such as Nurse, radiology, Health Information Technologist, Medical Billing, and Coding, Medical Office Management, or specializations that require more training or education.


Ways to become a Clinical Medical Assistant

Although in some states there are no formal educational requirements most employers generally require administrative Medical Assistants to be graduated from a post-secondary educational course. Many have a high association diploma, or equivalent and gain knowledge of their responsibilities at the workplace. High association students considering this profession should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

There are different ways to begin your career as a Clinical Medical Assistant. If you don’t already have a degree or experience, or they are insufficient, certification is the fastest route of obtaining your credentials.

“You can start your dream career, get promoted, and boost your earning potential in a handful of months. Don’t settle. Stand out and advance your career by getting certified”.



According to the United States Department of Labor:


Most Medical Assistants have a postsecondary education award such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma learn through on-the-job training. Assistants may update a patient’s medical file, fill out insurance forms, and answer telephone calls in a practitioner’s office.


Medical Assistants typically graduate from postsecondary education courses. Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a Medical Assistant in most states, employers may prefer to hire Assistants who have completed these courses.

courses for medical assisting are available from community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and universities and take about 1 year to complete. These courses usually lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges offer 2-year courses that lead to an associate’s degree. All courses have classroom and laboratory portions that include lessons in anatomy and Medical Terminology.

Some Medical Assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their duties on the job. High school students interested in a career as a Medical Assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy, and possibly business and computers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Medical Assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses. They may be required to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes.

Detail-oriented. Medical Assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information. physicians and insurance companies rely on accurate records.

Interpersonal skills. Medical Assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel, such as physicians. They often interact with patients who may be in pain or distress, so they need to be able to act in a calm and Health Professional manner.

Technical skills. Medical Assistants should be able to use basic clinical instruments so they can take a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.


Medical Assistants who do not have postsecondary education certificates learn their skills through on-the-job training. physicians or other Medical Assistants may teach a new assistant Medical Terminology, the names of the instruments, how to do daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other tasks that help keep an office running smoothly. Medical Assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records (EHRs) and how to record patient information. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical Assistants are not required to be certified in most states. However, employers may prefer to hire certified Assistants.

Several organizations offer certification. An applicant must pass an exam and have taken one of several routes to be eligible for each certification. These routes include graduation from an accredited course and work experience, among others. In most cases, an applicant must be at least 18 years old before Joining for certification.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredits five certifications for Medical Assistants:

Some states may require Assistants to graduate from an accredited course, pass an exam, or both, to practice. Contact the state board of medicine for more information.


With experience, Medical Assistants can specialize and move into leadership roles. With more education, they may advance into other healthcare occupations such as a registered nurse, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

Certification & Licensing

Certification, in today’s world, is the fastest way to earn credentials necessary to start a new career, or to advance in a current one. Certifications are more specialized, than traditional education, and are focused on acquiring a particular set of skills. For employers, it simply means that there is less on-the-job training required, which saves them time, resources, and money. certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) is a Nationally acknowledged certification administered by the National Healthcareers Association.The (CCMA) (CMAA) are Nationally recognized certifications.


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