Medical Assistant Guide

Medical Assisting is one of the fastest growing sectors in the healthcare industry with an increase in demand in employment of 18% projected between 2016 and 2024.

At Healthcare Graduate we are here to assist you by providing you with access to all the important information and resources you will need to get started as soon as possible on your path to becoming a CMA.

We will guide you through what you need to become a CMA and how to select the best schools for you.

What is a Certified Medical Assistant?

A Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is someone who has achieved national certification from an accredited School. Certification is awarded and managed by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Certification is not necessary to work as a Medical Assistant but in order to stand out from the crowd and improve their career opportunities many candidates are voluntarily choosing to follow this path.

Top Medical Assistant Career Questions

Medical Assistant Career Summary

Key FactsDetail
Educational RequirementsCertification is not required but it is beneficial
Average Annual Salary$31,910
Average Salary Range $22,040 to $43,880
(depending on experience and location)
Number in Employment (2016)612,464
Employment OutlookExcellent
Work EnvironmentsOffices of Physicians, General Hospitals, Offices of Other Health Practitioners, Outpatient Clinics
Related Careers Home Health Aide, Nursing Assistant, Surgical Technologist, Physician Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician

What does a Medical Assistant do?

Working as a Medical Assistant can be a very rewarding career choice. Every day you are helping to improve the health of others and enabling doctors and nurses to be more efficient in their roles. Medical assistants can work in a wide variety of places including offices, clinics and hospitals.

Whilst becoming Certified is not essential, CMA’s do enjoy faster career progression and greater responsibilities. In order to become certified you will need to firstly complete an approved Medical Assistant Program.

CMA’s take on a variety of administrative and clinical duties, meaning that multi-tasking is important. They will report to either the office manager for or supervising doctor depending on the nature of the duties they are assigned.

Medical Assistant Duties

Typical day to day tasks and responsibilities include;

  • Maintain records of office/medical supplies and ordering items. Book keeping, guiding patients and their families with admission and discharge and bill processing also fall under their administrative duties
  • Record vital signs of a patient to help the doctor run a diagnosis. They may also prepare a patient for examination and help them before and after with any instructions. CMAs may also collect blood and urine samples and send them to the lab for investigation.
  • CMAs act as the first point of contact for patients in hospitals and clinic settings, taking medical histories and information pertaining to the visit.
  • Filing reports, scheduling appointments and attending to phones and e-mail. Insurance paperwork and notifying authorities may also fall under their banner.
  • Some CMAs may also administer medication to patients and keep them updated on doctors instructions, dressing wounds and removing stitches. They may also check on patients to see how well they are responding to treatments.
  • Using computer applications and greeting patients
  • Arranging for hospital admissions
  • Taking electrocardiograms

A Certified Medical Assistant job description will also vary depending on where you work, how large the facility is and what the specialty is of the place you are working in! Generally speaking though, CMAs do a lot of the work that just keeps the place running evenly and allows patients to get the most personal care possible.

Medical Assistants are an important part of any healthcare facility. They help keep things running smoothly and maintain the lines of communication between patients and their doctors and make sure that the administrative duties such as paperwork and bookkeeping are all kept up to date.