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Due to the rapid growth of the healthcare industry and the need for qualified workers, now is a perfect opportunity for medical assistants to find more responsibility on the job and be rewarded with better compensation for their efforts.

To become a medical assistant, you should earn a certificate or two-year degree in the field. This makes you eligible to pursue entry-level jobs in a wide range of healthcare facilities, including doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities. You can also take your career to the next level when you pass the exam for professional certification.

The Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) has a rigorous testing process, and when you successfully complete it, you earn the right to call yourself a Certified Medical Assistant, indicating to co-workers and potential employers that you take your career responsibilities seriously and do your work well.

What is a Certified Medical Assistant?

A Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is a professional who has passed the CMA exam as designed by the AAMA. CMAs work in almost any area of the healthcare industry. They are both administrators and clinicians who can manage patient records, but then turn around and perform diagnostic tests with a patient.

Certified CMAs must first go through a training program, either a post-secondary certificate or a two-year degree, that has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Such programs are seen by the AAMA as providing sufficient education for sitting for the CMA examination.

Since all medical assistants must complete an education prior to applying for a job, it will be most beneficial to find the best-accredited program you possibly can. Not only will you be eligible to sit for the CMA examination, but you will have the knowledge and skills you need to thrive in the fast-paced world of patient care.

Ideal Characteristics for Successful Medical Assistants

Before you start your program, you will need to sit down assess whether this is really the work you want to do. It’s important to make sure that you will be a good fit for the role and that you’ll have few surprises once you’re actually doing a medical assistant’s duties. For example, you may be squeamish around blood or needles, both of which you’ll routinely see.

Therefore, it’s important to realize that this job will likely entail working with patients who are sick, or are struggling to support ailing loved ones. You’ll need empathy, patience and acceptance no matter how poorly people may be.

You will also need to be very attentive to details. You may need to measure fluids for an IV and maintain a spotless laboratory, which will require attention to every step of the cleaning and sterilization process. Details also matter when you enter information into a patient’s records or when you send off billing information to an insurer. If the insurance codes are not properly entered, your office might not be paid for services rendered.

You must also be very dependable. Punctuality is a must in the healthcare field, and you will also need to be able to work hours in which you are on-call or are able to return from a weekend to help handle a patient overflow in the clinic where you work. Healthcare professionals are more than mere workers, they are engaged in a career that is part of their lives.

Flexibility is more important to medical assistants than most any other healthcare profession. MAs perform a wide range of duties, from office manager to surgical assistant, so you will need to be able to change gears from one set of tasks to another without a moment’s hesitation.

Skills Needed for Medical Assistants

Your personal characteristics are very important to the profession, but so are your skills. Luckily, both can be learned and improved upon as you progress. Medical assistants need to have a full range of skills as their job requires versatility and makes them veritable Swiss-army knives whether they be in a clinic, long-term care facility or hospital.

One of your chief skill sets must be communication. You’ll need to communicate with a full range of staff you work with, including doctors or administrators, as well as patients and their families. Over the course of your career, you’ll have worked with a wide assortment of patients, from those in free-clinics to downtown doctor’s offices.

Nature of the Medical Assistant Job

The key word for medical assistants is multitasking. Duties encompass everything from insurance coding to patient diagnostics. You will need to be able to quickly shift from having discussions with a doctor to translating test results and diagnoses into understandable English for a patient unfamiliar with medical terminology.

Getting Started

To take advantage of the great opportunities that await you in the healthcare industry, get started today! Find accredited online or classroom based program for you and get information from medical assisting school programs now.