Medical assistants are in high demand and have good job security, with an expected employment growth of 23% from 2018 to 2028. Because of this, many people are considering going to school to become a medical assistant. It begs the question: what exactly can you do with your certification? Medical assistants are eligible to work in many different settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, care centers, chiropractic, optometry, and podiatry offices. Basic responsibilities between settings are similar, but the differences in the workplace allow for medical assistants to find an environment that best fits their own personality and lifestyle. In all settings, assistants can help other healthcare professionals with both administrative and clinical duties.

Medical assistants have the opportunity to work only administratively or only clinically. Administrative medical assistants typically answer and place calls for physicians, schedule appointments, enter patient information into the electronic medical records (EMR or HER), and fill out insurance forms. Clinical medical assistants take patient histories and vital signs. They help the doctors with physical examinations, obtain blood samples, and assist with treatment of the patient for as much as they’re qualified for. Depending on the work setting, they may also perform additional tasks such as doing basic lab tests, administering immunizations and sterilizing medical instruments. Depending on the needs of the workplace and the type of certification the assistant has, they may perform just one or both of these types of duties.

Medical assistants that work in optometry or ophthalmology offices help provide eye care. They perform tasks such as measuring vision, conducting diagnostic tests, providing assistance alongside the doctor, and helping patients learn how to use contacts. Assistants that work in podiatry offices may take foot x-rays, prepare patients for exams, make impressions of feet, and provide assistance during surgery. Likewise, medical assistants that work in chiropractic offices will check patients in and out of clinic, take patient histories, take x-rays and other images, and prepare rooms for appointments.

Furthermore, if the program that the medical assistant graduates from trains in phlebotomy, graduates can choose to work solely as a phlebotomist. In the state of Arizona, phlebotomists are not required to be licensed. However, licensure is highly recommended as it may be a requirement or preference for most employers. Graduates looking to get licensed in phlebotomy would need to pass a phlebotomy certification exam. Once employed, phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood from patients, ensuring proper labeling of the samples, entering patient information into electronic medical records, and using and maintaining a variety of medical instruments.

Most importantly, getting a medical assistant certification is just the first step to a career in healthcare. Having certification is a great resume-builder and can help job applicants stand out. Graduates from a medical assisting program can apply for other related jobs such as a medical office assistant, EKG technician, ward clerk, and many more. Medical assistants also have the opportunity to move up in the field by becoming a part of healthcare management, or by pursuing higher degrees such as nursing or physician assisting. Obtaining your medical assisting certification is just the start- the possibilities in the healthcare field are endless!

Altrain Medical and Dental Assisting Academy offers a Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program. Students are prepares to take both the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam and the Phlebotomy Technician Certification Exam.