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What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Posted: April 14, 2021


Medical assistants help medical practices and hospitals run smoothly by performing a combination of administrative and basic clinical tasks. They play such a vital role in a variety of healthcare settings that the medical assistant career is expected to grow 19% by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.* That’s much faster than average.

Career Quest Learning Centers offers a well-rounded education and training program that can help you join this fast-paced, stable, and growing career. Our program is designed to get you into the workforce in as little as 8 months.

Take a moment to learn a little more about what a medical assistant does, then reach out to our online career college to enroll today!

Learn more about our Medical Assistant Program

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

When it comes to maintaining the day-to-day flow of a medical office, it appears that medical assistants do it all. The true multi-taskers of the healthcare field, medical assistants regularly switch between administrative and clinical tasks.

Clinical Responsibilities

Working alongside physicians to help patients is one of the most important things that medical assistants do. It’s also one of the most rewarding aspects of this career. Some of your more patient care-focused responsibilities will include tasks like:

  • Taking patient vitals
  • Recording medical histories
  • Setting up an EKG machine
  • Removing sutures
  • Drawing blood
  • Administering medications

You’ll also likely be the one who triages patients before they’re seen by a nurse or doctor. So, you’ll be responsible for taking a patient’s medical history and updating the electronic medical records (EMR). This aspect of the role requires strong active listening skills to ensure that records are complete and accurate.

Administrative Tasks

Next, we have the administrative tasks. These are the front- or back-office tasks that help keep patients moving seamlessly through the practice. This will often involve responsibilities like answering the phone, following up on appointments, and other tasks, like:

  • Updating patient charts
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Managing drop-ins
  • Checking in patients

Some medical assistants also collect and document insurance information. They may also collect and input new-patient paperwork. Medical assistants with experience in medical billing and coding can also communicate with insurance companies to determine client co-pays and coverage.

What Do Medical Assistants Do at Work?

Medical assistants have versatile skills that make them valuable members of any medical practice. They can work in a variety of healthcare settings. Though the majority work in either a private practice or hospital, there are many workplaces that hire medical assistants, including:

  • Physicians’ offices
  • Hospitals
  • Chiropractic offices
  • Dental offices
  • Urgent care centers
  • Long- and short-term care centers
  • Podiatry offices
  • Clinical laboratories
  • Nursing homes

Ultimately, the day-to-day clinical and administrative tasks that medical assistants perform will vary based on the setting where they work. However, the nature of the work remains the same.

Skills Medical Assistants Need

If you’re going into the healthcare field as a medical assistant, it’s important to learn the right skills that’ll translate to a successful career. These include more specific abilities like:

These are all skills that you can learn at an accredited career college like Career Quest. You’ll cover many of these subjects in your coursework and during your externship in the field. This externship is a valuable experience, because it’s where you can pick up certain soft skills that you’ll need on the job, like:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Time management
  • Customer service
  • Organization
  • Communication skills

Medical Assistant Traits

While a career as a medical assistant can lead to an engaging and rewarding life for anyone, those who fit this role best tend to be:

  • Interested in the healthcare field
  • Good at science
  • Friendly and attentive
  • Passionate about helping others
  • A team player
  • Clean and organized
  • Detail-oriented
  • Good at following directions

If you’re wondering if this is the right career path for you, speak with the Career Quest Admissions team. They’re more than happy to help you find the right fit for your professional strengths!

What Should I Do to Become a Medical Assistant?

Now that you know what a medical assistant does, you may be wondering how you can get started in this exciting career. First, you should attend a medical assistant program, like the one at Career Quest.

This is a fast-paced program, designed to get you into the workforce in as little as 8 months. In this program, you’ll learn the skills you need to be an effective medical assistant, while taking classes like:

  • Allied Healthcare Procedures
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Assisting Procedures
  • Allied Healthcare Applications
  • Administrative Compliance

You’ll also participate in a required externship. This is where you can learn those on-the-job soft skills as you receive hands-on training in the workplace.  

Healthcare Certifications

To enrich your abilities and grow your skills even more, you may also consider sitting for a couple of certifications. Having a few certifications under your belt can show your future employer that you’re dedicated to your work. It can also help to increase your employability.

Some certifications you may consider include:

  • EKG Technician
  • Medical Assistant
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • CPR and Basic Life Support
  • Electronic Health Records Specialist

Both programs we offer at Career Quest are designed to prepare you to sit for applicable certifications. Students may also be eligible to take the exam at no additional charge if they meet certain eligibility criteria, like GPA and financial standing requirements, for example.

Well-Rounded Career Training

While our programs are designed to prepare you for a rewarding career as a medical assistant, you can also learn the skills to work in several other entry-level roles in a healthcare setting, including:

  • Medical assistant
  • Medical office assistant
  • Phlebotomy technician
  • Laboratory assistant
  • EKG technician
  • Medical technician

Speak with the Career Services Department at our career college to discuss employment opportunities. They’re also here to offer lifetime job placement assistance, as well as help with resumés, cover letters, and mock interviews.

If you really love your work, then you may also be able to progress in your career with plenty of dedication. With the right education and training, many medical assistants can also go on to have careers as registered nurses, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners. 

Start Your Medical Assistant Career with Career Quest

Medical assistants do a lot to keep healthcare facilities running on a day-to-day basis. As part of a robust and growing field, this role can provide career stability on top of engaging daily work that’s always changing.

At Career Quest, we offer a comprehensive training program that can get your medical assistant career started in as little as 8 months. Contact our Admissions team to enroll today.