Is Becoming a Dental Assistant Easy

Dental assistants are in demand, and opportunities are expanding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for dental assistants are expected to grow by 19% from 2016 to 2026 as the growing population of Baby Boomers learns more about the value of oral health. What exactly does a dental assistant do, and what kind of training is required? It’s easy to get started. Here’s a closer look.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants are versatile support professionals. They work closely with dentists and dental hygienists, performing a wide range of clinical and administrative tasks. The role is regulated, in part, by state rules. Responsibilities will vary according to location, but administrative duties typically include scheduling appointments, welcoming patients, ordering supplies, filling out insurance forms, caring for tools and dental equipment, updating medical records, preparing treatment rooms, taking blood pressure, performing or assisting with X-rays, assisting in the lab, providing chairside support, and educating patients.

Scheduling Appointments

With an understanding of the clinical aspects of dentistry, a dental assistant is the perfect staff person to schedule complex procedures.

Welcoming Patients

Visits to the dentist can be stressful for some patients. A dental assistant has the right blend of clerical and clinic know-how to answer questions confidently and make patients feel more comfortable.

Ordering Supplies

Depending on the size of the practice, a dental assistant may work in an office, a laboratory, a treatment room, or all three. Because of their familiarity with each department’s specific needs, they are often responsible for ordering the supplies for an entire practice.

Filling Out Insurance Forms

Most insurance forms require at least some clinical expertise to fill out appropriately. Dental assistants help to ensure that claims are correct and complete before submission, and they may also have a role in billing.

Caring for Tools and Dental Equipment

Dental assistants sanitize all tools for patient safety. They clean, test and keep detailed maintenance logs on both routine and emergency dental equipment.

Updating Medical Records

Dental procedures can be complicated, and the emphasis is always on safety first. Before any exam, dental assistants review changes in medical history with patients, update allergy and medication lists, as well as document new diagnoses, symptoms and specific concerns.

Preparing Treatment Rooms

A well-prepared treatment room saves both the dentist’s and the patient’s time. Before a client arrives, a dental assistant arranges the tools and medications necessary for the visit and then cleans and restocks rooms between each patient visit.

Taking Blood Pressure

The dentist uses blood pressure readings to choose the best local anesthetic for procedures such as fillings. Dental assistants are responsible for taking the measurement and informing the dentist of any irregularities.

Performing or Assisting with X-rays

Dental assistants are trained to take and develop X-rays, but in some states, this role is limited by regulation. Certification in radiological safety may be required.

Assisting in the Lab

In clinics with a lab, a dental assistant may clean and polish removable appliances like dentures and bridges. They can also assist with making impressions and orthodontic appliances, such as retainers.

Providing Chairside Support

Dentists and hygienists rarely perform procedures alone. Dental assistants serve as an extra pair of skilled hands by assisting during treatments, passing the necessary tools and equipment, documenting data for the dentist and in some cases, monitoring anesthesia.

Educating Patients

A large part of a dental assistant’s job is to help educate patients. From reviewing basic dental care techniques and pre/post procedure instructions to explaining the role of smoking and nutrition in oral health, a dental assistant is often a patient’s go-to source for information both over the phone and at the office.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants have a significant degree of responsibility, and employers prefer to hire trained assistants with proven skills. The good news is that in as little as nine months, students can graduate from a vocational school and be employment ready.

All that is needed to enroll in a program is a high-school diploma or equivalent plus CPR certification. What do dental assistants learn in school? Training programs include classes in:

  • Dental terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Business office procedures
  • Dental practice management software
  • Customer service techniques
  • Basics of dental care
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Infection control and equipment maintenance
  • X-ray techniques
  • Hands-on dental assisting
  • Emergency management

In addition to time in the classroom, students also learn off-site, working side-by-side with veteran dental assistants during supervised clinical experiences.

Graduating qualifies students for entry-level jobs, and in most cases, to take one of five optional certification exams offered by the Dental Assisting National Board. Where certification isn’t required, pursuing it demonstrates both skill and commitment, and it can help new dental assistants qualify for more advanced positions.

Many vocational schools have a Career Services department. These departments often assist with writing resumes and provide access to school job boards. They may also partner with local oral care professionals to ensure that the training they offer is meeting the needs of local employers.

Becoming a dental assistant is among the fastest and easiest ways to launch a rewarding career in healthcare. In as little as nine months, students may be out of the classroom and ready to become a dental assistant. Opportunities are waiting, so why not get started today?

Did learning about how easy it is to become a dental assistant interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers a dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Importance of Medical Office Professionals

Medical Assistants

Emergencies bring out the best in people, and nowhere is that more evident than in the healthcare field. Essential medical workers across the country are coming together to support their communities during this public health crisis, and the good news is that it’s working. COVID-19 is under control, but it continues to be a long-term threat, and the shortage of healthcare professionals looms large. For students interested in a career in medicine, now is the time to join those on the front line as medical office assistants.

The Importance of Essential Workers

Essential workers perform the services necessary to protect property and human life during a pandemic, examples include firefighters, transportation employees, food manufacturers and physicians. But in medicine, administrative responsibilities are an integral part of care, so medical office assistants are as essential as doctors and nurses.

Why are Medical Office Assistants Important During a Health Crisis?

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, patients with respiratory symptoms are being asked to avoid emergency rooms, so doctor’s offices are busier than ever. There’s so much to do.

A medical office assistant tackles a full range of administrative duties in a healthcare setting. They have no clinical responsibilities, but by handling the clerical responsibilities that are an essential part of every visit, they allow doctors and nurses to see more patients. At a time when demand for care has skyrocketed, it’s a crucial role.

Primary responsibilities of medical office assistants include scheduling appointments, overseeing the waiting area, checking in patients, managing medical records, bills and accounting, and ordering office supplies.

Scheduling Appointments

Medical office assistants are responsible for answering phone calls and making appointments. In a busy practice, they manage clinical schedules and equipment needs for hundreds of visits daily. During a pandemic, scheduling is even more challenging as frequent emergencies arise.

Overseeing the Waiting Area

As ambassadors of first impressions, medical office assistants oversee waiting areas, making sure they’re clean and safe for vulnerable patients as they arrive. They make the most of waiting time by being hospitable, answering questions and assisting with pre-visit paperwork.

Checking in Patients

A medical office assistant ensures patients have the best experience possible by verifying personal and insurance information at check-in. Mistakes in healthcare records can lead to dangerous medical errors, while inaccuracies on insurance forms can result in rejected claims or an unexpected bill for the insured when they can least afford it.

Managing Medical Records

Medical office assistants update electronic health records before each visit. They manage the flow of confidential medical data between patients and doctors as well as referring physicians. Integrity and attention to detail are a must.

Billing and Accounting

Billing specialists are responsible for filling out insurance forms, but claims are only as sound as the information in them. Medical office assistants play an important part in the billing process by clarifying demographic information and insurance policy numbers before patients see the doctor. They may also review accounts and collect copayments before the exam. Light accounting tasks include reconciling cash drawers and credit card receipts.

Ordering Office Supplies

The pace in a doctor’s office is brisk during a pandemic, so a well-stocked supply closet is critical. Medical office assistants are responsible for ordering supplies practice-wide, working with both staff and vendors to guarantee needed items are on hand.

Depending on the size and type of practice, medical office assistants may have other duties, such as:

  • Completing insurance forms
  • Transcription
  • Correspondence
  • Filing
  • Marketing
  • Assisting with financial reports
  • Patient outreach

As clients’ first point of contact with their provider, a medical office assistant is a vital source of support and information. The medical office assistant’s warm and welcoming demeanor inspires patients’ confidence in their care and preserves the practice’s reputation.

Training to Be a Medical Office Assistant

Training to become a medical office assistant is easy. Students attending a vocational school program full-time can be out of the classroom and earning money in just six months. It’s a future-looking career choice for this year’s high school graduates or unemployed adults looking for a new career path. Flexible learning options may be available, and most institutions offer assistance with job placement after graduation.

Employers are now hiring to meet the extreme demand caused by COVID-19. And even prior to the pandemic, positions for medical office assistants were already expected to soar by nearly 23-percent in the next ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As millions more Americans reach age 65, the need for accessible preventive care is skyrocketing. So unlike training for jobs that are slowly disappearing due to advances in technology, the skills learned in a medical office assisting program will remain relevant.

Why Get a Medical Office Assistant Diploma?

Having a vocational school diploma demonstrates a student has the knowledge and practical skills necessary for success in an entry-level position. It’s everything an employer needs to feel confident hiring an applicant, as well as a firm foundation students will want to build a better lifelong career. Graduates are qualified to sit for one of several exams leading to nationally recognized credentials.

While most of the 601,700 medical office assistants on payrolls today are employed in private practices, roles for medical office assistants are continually expanding to hospitals, clinics and more. The job market is thriving.

Final Thoughts

The shortage of essential healthcare workers during this public health crisis is serving as a valuable wake up call. The country should never be caught short-handed. The community’s best defense against shifting demographics and the next pandemic is plenty of skilled support staff, such as medical office assistants. For students, it’s both a mission and an opportunity.

Are you ready to pitch in and help during this health crisis? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Medical Office Assistants in Demand

Medical Assistants

Medical professionals are today’s new heroes, they answer the call when their communities are in need. But for every doctor and nurse on the front lines during this public health crisis, there are support specialists who manage the administrative intricacies of healthcare, giving licensed providers more time to spend with patients. Who are these behind the scenes champions? They’re medical office assistants, and they’re in higher demand than ever.

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Medical office assistants work with a team of medical professionals committed to top-quality patient care. As the business part of medicine becomes more complex, they fill a unique role.

By handling the full spectrum of clerical tasks that are a fundamental part of every healthcare visit, they allow physicians and nurses to better focus on their clinical duties. It’s a vital non-clinical role that quickens care and makes it safer and more efficient.

A medical office assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Managing the switchboard
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Providing general information
  • Overseeing the reception area
  • Checking in patients
  • Transcribing doctor’s notes
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Filling out insurance claims
  • Light Coding and billing
  • Light bookkeeping
  • Ordering supplies

Why are Medical Office Assistants in Such High Demand?

The demand for medical office assistants isn’t new, it was rising well before the pandemic. With thousands of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age daily, the need for preventive healthcare services is increasing.

Doctor’s offices are leading the way in providing care for vulnerable seniors as they age, serving as portals through which they can access a variety of community services, but they can’t do it alone. Medical facilities need highly qualified support staff to expand their services and make them more accessible to the public.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical office assistants is expected to rise more than 16-percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than other occupations on average. The current shortage is an issue the pandemic underscores.

While medical workers are always essential, they’re indispensable in a healthcare emergency. In some industries, professionals can work during a pandemic while allowing office functions, such as billing, to slide, but not in healthcare. Documentation and care are linked. What occurs in the front office is as important as what happens in the exam room.

When a patient sees their doctor, it’s just a single event in a bigger picture. Verifying details from demographics to insurance policy numbers is a must, safe continuity of care and timely insurance reimbursement depend on it. In a pandemic, public health departments rely on accurate patient data and properly coded insurance forms for data about disease trends. Without a medical office assistant to take on these responsibilities, vital details could easily be lost, and ultimately, patients would suffer.

Why Consider a Career as a Medical Office Assistant?

There are many ways to help the public during a crisis, but for students considering a career in healthcare, there’s no better time to seek training as a medical office assistant than now.

Getting a vocational school education is quick and cost-effective. Students attending full-time can be done and ready to earn in as little as six months. Programs give students the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for entry-level positions. Courses cover general office management, computerized records applications, and insurance billing. Although medical office assistants have no clinical responsibilities, training in medical terminology, law and ethics helps prepare students to function confidently in a busy healthcare environment.

After graduation, most medical office assistants work in private practices, but roles are expanding to hospitals and clinics. Graduates can help the country through tough times while nurturing a career in a respected field with opportunities, flexible schedules and room for advancement.

The job is fast-paced and never boring, there’s always something new and exciting to learn, and it’s personally fulfilling. A medical office assistant makes a difference in the lives of the people they serve. There are few professions requiring so little training that have as much potential.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a new career path isn’t easy. Students are taking a risk with their time and money, so it’s essential to evaluate the options and consider which occupations will remain relevant in the future. The good news for medical office assistants is that while the country won’t always be in the grip of a pandemic, healthcare workers will forever be essential.

Did reading about the demand for medical office assistants interest you? Ready to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare a graduate to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

Becoming A Certified Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants

Want a job that is gratifying and challenging? Did you know that it takes as little as nine months to become a medical assistant? You can get educated and certified in under a year and start earning as an entry-level medical assistant. So, are you asking yourself, “What does a medical assistant do?”

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants are responsible for both administrative and clinical tasks. They greet, escort, and talk with patients. Medical assistants are the patient’s liaison between the waiting room up and when they leave the medical office. The medical assistant works closely with doctors and nurses, ensuring that patients have a positive experience. A medical assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Overseeing the schedule of the doctor and office
  • Triaging phone calls as needed
  • Greeting and escorting patients to exam rooms
  • Taking vital signs and reviewing medical histories
  • Collecting lab specimens including blood
  • Administering vaccinations
  • Performing diagnostic tests like EKG
  • Sterilizing instruments and surfaces between patients
  • Managing medical records

How Do You Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

The first step in becoming a certified medical assistant is by graduating from a medical assisting program at a vocational school. A medical assistant program will teach you what you need to know to start working at a physician’s office, medical clinic, or any other medical facility. In the classroom you learn front office skills, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, first aid, and CPR. During lab work, you learn about phlebotomy, EKGs, and many other clinical tasks that you will perform as a certified medical assistant.

The next step involves passing a certification exam from a select number of medical assistant associations. Passing these exams and becoming certified will help you find your first job as a medical assistant and when you are interested in moving up to a more senior level position.

Why Choose a Career as a Medical Assistant?

Careers in medical assisting have many benefits, such as short training programs, a positive work-life balance, flexibility, a supportive environment, and an opportunity to learn. With this information, you can make a better decision whether or not to become a certified medical assistant.

Short Training Programs

In as little as nine months, you can become a certified medical assistant. Most vocational schools focus on what you will need to work as a medical assistant. They prepare you for your first day at work. Much of the learning happens in the lab while being supervised by industry-experienced instructors. This program prepares you for your first day and gives you the confidence to walk into the door of your new job and hit the ground running.

A Positive Work-Life Balance

Most physician offices are open during normal business hours and is when most medical assistant shifts occur. This gives you time to have a life outside of work to exercise, visit with family, take up a hobby, etc. A positive work-life balance is important, so you don’t burn out at your job. Becoming a certified medical assistant may give you that balance.

A Supportive Environment

As a medical assistant, you will work with colleagues that care as much about their patients as you do. Everyone in a medical facility has their job to do, but there is always someone available to support you. A medical staff works as a team. Everyone is needed to give patients a positive outcome.

Opportunity to Learn

Part of being a medical assistant involves learning new equipment and procedures. There is always something new to learn. The medical industry moves fast, and there are new technologies being introduced to physician’s offices all the time, new vaccines, new ways to test a patient’s heart, and more. If you like to learn then becoming a certified medical assistant may be the right career for you.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how long it takes to become a certified medical assistant, it is time to start the journey. Helping others is gratifying, and having a supportive environment makes work a great place to be, especially if it allows you to enjoy life outside of work, too. If you have a passion for medicine and a true desire to help others, then becoming a certified medical assistant may be the right career path for you. Get ready to start a career you will enjoy for years to come.

Are you looking for a good career in healthcare? Ready for an exciting career as a certified medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Who Becomes a Medical Assistant

Healthcare is an attractive field. Jobs are plentiful, flexible, and there’s room for professional growth. But providing hands-on care isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Medical assisting is an ideal career for people who like working with patients but prefer a blend of clinical and administrative responsibilities. You’ll enjoy being a medical assistant if:

You’re Interested in Science and Medicine

If you have an aptitude for science, you’ll appreciate what medical assisting offers. From working with cutting edge technology to exploring the newest in treatments, you’ll have a front-row seat for the most exciting developments in medicine.

During a medical assisting program, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, and phlebotomy. Science is involved in everything you do as a medical assistant.

You’re Passionate About Helping Others

Helping others is part of every profession, but nowhere is it more intimate than in the healthcare field. Working with physically and emotionally vulnerable patients, you’ll have an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in their lives. You will help people from every walk of life. If you wake up in the morning asking yourself how you can make the world a better place, working in the medical field is an excellent place to start.

You Like Working with a Team

Healthcare is a team sport. You’ll never feel alone or unsupported. Colleagues work together on a common mission to provide patients with the highest quality, most comprehensive care possible. Everyone works together. If you thrive on camaraderie and a team-based approach to solving problems, you’ll make a great medical assistant.

As a medical assistant, you will also work with like minded colleagues that care about their patients and want them to have the best outcomes possible. Working with a medical team is supportive, and you will always be able to turn to someone on your team when you need help or just want someone to talk with.

You Prefer to Stay Busy

Healthcare settings are fast paced. Productivity is important because it saves lives. There is also urgent matters that rearrange your schedule each day. If you like to stay busy at work, medical assisting is engaging without being overwhelming.

You Want Your Opinion to Matter

Many employees don’t feel valued at work. They believe managers don’t hear their opinions, and what they contribute to their company’s success is undervalued. However in healthcare, employers realize that each member has a unique connection to patients and therefore, a distinct and valuable point of view.

You Want to Continue to Learn

The learning doesn’t stop once you graduate from the medical assisting diploma program. You have the opportunity to become certified by different organizations like the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). To keep this certification, you will be required to take continuing education classes. Everyday also brings new learning. Whether it is a new medical device, treatment, or procedure, there is always something new to learn as a medical assistant.

You Want to Advance in Your Career

Once you become a medical assistant and graduate with a diploma, you can work in a specialized field even with a little experience. Do you like to work with kids, the elderly, or pregnant moms to be? Regardless of the specialty, you will need to get the prerequisite medical assisting diploma before you move on to specialize. You can stay a medical assistant as long as you want. As a physician’s office medical assistant, you get to help a wide variety of people with many different backgrounds. Two days are never alike.

How Do You Become a Medical Assistant?

The best way to become a medical assistant is to get a vocational school diploma. In order to fully understand all of your responsibilities, it is important to get a formal education. Working on the job as a medical assistant may teach you a few skills, but completing a diploma program will give you a full education. Next time you are looking to specialize or move up the ladder, the diploma will come in handy.

Healthcare is complex, and graduates of a medical assisting program are ready for an entry-level role. Courses prepare students to tackle clinical and administrative responsibilities.

Are There Advancement Opportunities for Medical Assistants?

Medical assistants have a wide range of advancement opportunities. Their diverse skill set is welcomed in any healthcare setting. With experience, they can build on their education and move into supervisory positions or entirely different parts of the medical field. A medical assistant who excels in the lab could become a full-time phlebotomist with a little more training, while someone with a talent for finance or human resources could be an office manager.

The key to advancement is education. A diploma plus experience qualifies medical assistants for certification through professional organizations, such as The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the nation’s largest insurer, mandates medical assistants be certified to enter orders into electronic health records, so credentials make job applicants more attractive to hire. The more education medical assistants receive, the greater their opportunity to get ahead.

Final Thoughts

Do you have a passion for science and medicine? Want to help others on a daily basis? Then becoming a medical assistant may be the right career path for you. Start a medical assisting diploma program today and start help patients tomorrow.

Are you looking for a good career in healthcare? Ready for an exciting career as a medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Med Assistants are Essential

Medical Assistants

In times of crisis, many look to doctors and nurses as essential frontline workers. Public health professionals struggle to disseminate information in a crisis, and they rely on frontline healthcare workers to help patients separate fact from fear. Doctors and nurses are important, but they can’t do it alone. Some forget that medical assistants are essential workers too.

Medical assistants are on the frontlines, assisting doctors and nurses, allowing them to help more patients. Medical assistants manage patients in doctor’s offices and hospitals, helping the patients to reduce anxiety. A crisis can be worrisome, and a good medical assistant has empathy and compassion. They understand what a patient is going through and can help reduce fear through education. Medical assistants can educate patients about proper hygiene, how to prevent the spread of a virus, and when to contact their doctor. Medical assistants perform lifesaving tests and administer essential vaccines. They are responsible for administering virus and disease testing, blood draws and other laboratory testing needed during a crisis. For students interested in a rewarding career as a medical assistant, the time to seek training through an affordable vocational school program is now. Patients are waiting and you are essential.

What are Essential Workers?

An essential worker is someone who is required to work during a business closure in order to meet operational requirements. In this crisis, an essential worker is important to the safety of human life and the protection of property according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Examples include medical professionals, first responders, energy employees, water and sanitation, non-profit and social services organizations, public workers, communication and information technology, child care, financial services, law enforcement personnel, transit and delivery employees, and food processors.

In the health care sector specifically, essential workers include accounting, administrative, admitting, accrediting, certification, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, medical IT, emergency medical workers, urgent care, long-term care workers, inpatient and hospital workers, and community-based service providers. All of these workers are essential to keeping patients safe and healthy during a crisis. Of course, this includes medical assistants.

A medical assistant handles the many details that are an integral part of what is essential. They do both clinical and administrative tasks so doctors and nurses can concentrate on what they do best, treating the ill. Medical assistants are essential workers.

What Do Medical Assistants Do During a Crisis?

Medical assistants provide support for doctors and nurses in private practices and hospitals. Four out of five medical assistants are employed in doctor’s offices, putting them on the frontline of a public health crisis. The regular duties of a medical assistant during a crisis include:

  • Greeting patients
  • Keeping the reception area clean and sterilized
  • Phone call triage
  • Measuring vital signs
  • Drawing blood
  • Performing diagnostic tests
  • Administering medications including vaccinations
  • Assisting with minor surgical procedures
  • Arranging referrals
  • Submitting insurance claims
  • Ordering supplies
  • Patient education

Now more than ever, patients depend on their primary providers, and their medical assistants, for care. During a healthcare crisis, medical assistants use their clinical expertise to ensure patients who need urgent care receive it promptly. During a crisis, time is of the essence.

In a busy office, medical assistants can sanitize common touchpoints such as counters, doorknobs and pens. They can screen patients for symptoms of illness, such as fever. They can remind visitors to wash their hands and stay a safe distance from one another. Medical assistants can also use a patient’s waiting time to educate them about disease prevention. Medical assistants play an essential role during a crisis and are instrumental in saving the lives of their patients.

Why are Medical Assistants Essential Workers?

Many medical assistants are essential, and work side-by-side helping doctors and nurses in this crisis manage more patients, especially during outbreaks. Without medical assistants, patients wouldn’t get the quality of care they deserve. Medical assistants offer direct care to patients, by answering call lights, taking vital signs, administering medication and vaccines prescribed by doctors, and documenting medical histories.

Medical assistants are imperative for lowering costs, improving patient quality of care and achieving better patient outcomes. They are ready at a moment’s notice to drop administrative duties and handle patient intake, respond to emergencies and triage phone calls. Medical assistants help medical facilities and doctor’s offices run smoothly to offer patients a quality experience. They are also discrete when handling sensitive or confidential information. Medical assistants are more than important, they are essential.

Final Thoughts

Medical assistants are essential workers and you can become one in as little as nine months. Many vocational schools even offer online classes to support those at home. Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding and challenging career choice where you can help save lives daily and truly be an essential worker.

Did learning about how medical assistants are essential workers interest you? Ready to work alongside colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate online to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Medical Assistants Are High Demand

Medical Assistants highly sought after

Job opportunities for medical assistants are expected to grow by a remarkable 23% in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 17% more than other healthcare support positions and 5% greater than total occupation growth nationwide. As the need for medical services expands, so does demand for skilled support professionals. For students interested in a career in healthcare, there’s no better time to become a medical assistant than now.

Why is the Demand for Healthcare Increasing?

The need is growing due to several factors, including an aging population, rising chronic disease rates, and advancements in healthcare.

An Aging Population
Before the 1940s, population growth in the United States was relatively stable. But after World War II, soldiers returned to a thriving economy, and couples took the opportunity to start families. Today, the children born in this era, called the Baby Boomers, are in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They are now the largest demographic group in the country, 75 million strong, and as they age, they will need more medical care.

Rising Chronic Disease Rates
Chronic disease rates among all age groups are rising exponentially. Care for these illnesses, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, is expected to make up more than 50 percent of increases in healthcare spending through 2025 as such medical conditions require more attention, according to the Peterson Center on Healthcare.

Advancements in Healthcare
Medicine is evolving quickly, and advancements will be the new normal from here on out. Illnesses that were once incurable are now treatable, and innovations are improving quality of life for millions, spurring a rising demand for services and qualified personnel to bring them to the public.

Where Do Medical Assistants Fit in?

When patients have access to quality primary care, outcomes are better both medically and financially. As public health officials and insurers seek ways to improve the quality of medicine while lowering costs, the emphasis on preventive, primary care services is growing. With that, however, comes a staffing crisis.

There are currently millions of boomers working in the medical industry, so every retirement means one fewer healthcare worker. Experts estimate that up to a quarter of the medical workforce could be affected by this supply decline in the next ten years.

The rapid growth of healthcare is forcing the development of new staffing models. The nurses who once supported doctors in their clinical and administrative needs are now accepting greater responsibility, leading to a gap in care. Medical assistants are bridging that gap by tackling tasks that require skilled but not specialized attention.

The utilization of medical assistants in private practice has increased by more than 30% in the last two decades. In a hospital or doctor’s office, their duties may include:

  • Triaging phone calls
  • Managing the schedule
  • Greeting patients
  • Maintaining flow through reception areas
  • Taking vital signs
  • Assisting with examinations
  • Obtaining medical specimens
  • Performing basic lab tests
  • Giving injections
  • Overseeing referrals
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Assisting with billing

With their unique blend of clinical and administrative expertise, medical assistants are the ideal liaisons between clients and their healthcare providers, allowing doctors and nurses to focus on what they do best, healing.

As a medical assistant’s role continues to expand, there are opportunities in many settings. However, because most of the growth in the healthcare industry is occurring at the primary care level, the majority of opportunities for medical assistants are in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

The Benefits of Being a Medical Assistant

A job as a medical assistant offers more than just a paycheck, it’s a rewarding career. Benefits include affordable training, opportunity, flexibility, professional respect, room for advancement, excitement and the opportunity to help others.

Affordable Training
Not everyone who wants to work in healthcare can afford the time or fiscal requirements of a college degree. The good news is that while some medical assistants have an associate’s degree, vocational school training can be completed in as little as 9 months.

Opportunity
Few careers offer as much potential for job growth as medical assisting. But what’s even more important is that unlike some professions that face eventual elimination due to automation, healthcare is a people-first career that will always need a human touch.

Flexibility
Because medical assistants are in such high demand, employers are incentivized to create flexible part-time and full-time positions that attract higher numbers of job applicants. Working in a hospital may require chipping in an occasional weekend or holiday, but positions in private practices typically have family-friendly, Monday through Friday schedules.

Professional Respect
Medical assisting is not a new career, it’s been recognized as an occupation since the mid-1950s, and it has its own professional group, the American Association of Medical Assistants. Providers recognize the importance of the work a medical assistant does and the value of their training.

Room for Advancement
Medical assisting can be a steppingstone to other occupations in the healthcare field, including nursing, but it can also be a forever career. With additional training and experience, medical assistants can move into increasingly more responsible positions or seek specialty certification.

Excitement
Trained in both clinical and clerical procedures, medical assistants are jacks-of-all-trades. Even on average days, their responsibilities vary enough to keep things exciting. No two days in medicine are ever like, so while the setting stays the same, challenges continually evolve.

The Opportunity to Help Others
At least 30% of life is spent at work, so it’s no surprise that when surveyed, working with purpose and for the benefit of others consistently tops the list of what employees want. When staff feels like working for a paycheck is their only goal, motivation, morale and productivity decrease.

In healthcare, even simple tasks such as answering the telephone take on a greater sense of urgency and purpose. For students who want to make a difference in the lives of others, a career as a medical assistant is the perfect place to start.

Final Thoughts

Healthcare is growing at an unprecedented pace, and the demand for medical assistants will only increase. A dynamic and rewarding career with flexibility, stability, and room for professional growth could be less than a year away.

Did learning about the high demand for medical assistants interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares the graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.


**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Prepare for A Med Assistant Interview

preparing for med assisting job interview

Candidates succeed in job interviews when their answers match employer expectations. In a medical assisting interview, employers ask questions that reveal the candidates’ skills and whether they are a fit with the medical facility.

Medical assistants should take updated copies of their resume, relevant certificates and licenses to the interview. They should also have researched the medical facility interviewing them.

Interviewers ask questions common to all jobs apart from those specific to a medical assistant interview. Here are seven of the most common questions asked during a medical assisting interview:

Question #1 – Tell me about yourself.

This is an open-ended question intended to help interviewees relax. However, candidates should not talk too much, especially about their personal lives. Instead, they should mention a few interests relevant to medical assisting, such as volunteering, or focus on their professional skills or academics.

Candidates can discuss their employment history, including number of years, locations/facilities worked, as well their various responsibilities as a medical assistant. If asked to elaborate, they can mention taking patient vitals, medical histories, etc. If this will be the candidates first job after graduating, the candidate can talk about relevant work experience and how they work with people offering quality customer service. Candidates can also talk about their externship during the interview and hands-on experience gained while attending a vocational school.

Question #2 – What are your strengths and weaknesses?

While discussing strengths, candidates should avoid boasting. Ideally, they should share some job-related skills they are strong in, along with a few people skills or instances of academic excellence.

They should avoid using use the word “weakness.” Instead, they must talk of “areas that need improvement,” which can be perceived as a positive too. For example: “I am obsessed with completing all daily records diligently.”

Question #3 – Do you like being around people?

Since people skills are very essential for medical assistants, candidates should try to show that they love interacting with others and truly enjoy helping them.

Question #4 – What schedule do you hope to work? Do you have any scheduling restrictions?

Candidates can agree to work whenever needed, on the hope that once they get the job, they might be able to adjust the schedule. They may however refuse to work late hours, overtime or weekends, citing genuine unavoidable reasons.

Question #5 – How do you protect the rights and confidentiality of patients?

Candidates’ answers should focus on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) training they received and how they apply it by being discreet in their dealings with patients and their records.

Question #6 – Describe a difficult situation at your workplace and how you handled it.

Candidates should talk about a real experience, where their actions helped resolve the situation. They should also share the positive aspects of the experience, without blaming others.

If this is their first job, they can refer to instances from their training, externship or even from their personal lives.

Question #7 – What do you like most about being a medical assistant, and what do you like the least?

Although many candidates might say that they like everything about the job, it is better to say what they specifically like and why. Candidates can be open about what they find difficult, which would help employers to provide training or support in those areas.

Usually, interviewers close the interview by asking if the candidates have any questions for them. The answer should always be a “yes,” followed by at least one question — maybe about the possibility of future advancements or training. However, if interviewers have already covered everything, they can ask a general question about the working atmosphere or locality.

Did learning about medical assisting interview questions interest you? Ready to work with colleagues who want to help their patients stay healthy? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

Learn To Use Medical Software

medical software training

Are you good with computers and like to help others? Medical assisting might be the right career for you. During the course of daily operations, at a physician’s office or medical facility, the medical assistant will learn to use medical software and electronic health records (EHRs). The use of medical software like PMS and EHRs is growing and the medical assistant will need to become comfortable using different software tools to manage patient interactions and medical information. A general comfort with learning new computer software interfaces and data entry dashboards is a must.

Medical Software

Medical software deals with the day-to-day operations of a medical practice. Medical software allows medical assistants the ability to keep electronic health records, capture patient demographics, schedule appointments, track patients, manage medical codes, perform billing tasks, manage claims and generate reports. Medical software can be purchased separately or as part of a software system. The main uses of medical software include:

Keeping Electronic Health Records – management of records is important, and many paper records are being converted to electronic records. Medical software allows the medical assistant to search millions of documents and find the right patient records in seconds rather than hours. These software packages can also streamline the transfer of medical records from one medical practice to another.

Appointment Scheduling – allows medical assistants to create and track upcoming patient visits. This function helps keep a medical facility or doctor’s office running smoothly and doctors continuously working.

Patient Tracking – medical software helps medical staff keep track of patients whether they are admitting, discharging, or checking them in at a doctor’s office or managing which departments a patient visits during an appointment. At urgent care and hospitals, medical assistants can keep track of the places a patient goes and what they need based on a physician’s diagnosis. The Software can also track prescriptions and treatment options.

Claims and Statements – this software reduces the time medical assistants spend on billing and claims. It also allows them to manage medical codes easier.

Manage Medical Codes – medical assistants are responsible for remembering many different coding systems for claims, record keeping, and billing. These coding systems include CPT, HCPCS and ICD-10. With the help of medical software, medical assistants can seamlessly add codes to patient records without rope memorization or cheat sheets that cover the computer monitor.

Reporting – reporting capabilities to allow medical assistants to extract detailed data on financial performance and patient financial history.

EHRs and the Changes for Medical Assistants

Electronic health records (EHRs) are being adopted by physicians, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Medical assistants should learn the Electronic Health Record software to better manage patient records. Some of the benefits of training with EHRs for medical assistants include:

• Digital formatting of information to be shared over a secure network
• The ability to better decipher physicians’ hand-writing, minimizing mistakes
• Decreases billing processing time for a more accurate billing system
• Better tracking of care and outcomes
• Helps trigger warnings and reminders
• Easier to send and receive orders, reports, and results

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHRs)?

An electronic health record (EHR) is an official health record for a patient that is managed with the use of medical software and shared among medical facilities and physicians. EHRs may record a range of data, including medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics and billing information.

EHR systems are designed to store data accurately and keep track of a patient over the life of care. The EHR system eliminates the need to track down a patient’s previous paper medical records making sure data is accurate and legible. The EHR system can reduce risk of data replication as there is only one modifiable file.

EHR Software Programs

A medical assistant must learn to use medical software in the course of education and on the job training. Electronic health records (EHRs) play a vital role in the medical industry today and training to use electronic health records is vital for medical assistants to succeed. There are many different EHR software programs.

Final Thoughts

Saving time with medical software will not make medical assistant jobs obsolete, as many believe technology will do. This software will help medical assistants work much more efficiently and be available for the growth in the population and demand for healthcare. With the national demand for medical assistants growing 19 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, now is the time to become a medical assistant. It can be accomplished in as little as 9 months and you could be helping others as an essential worker on the frontlines.

Do you have an interest in both medicine and technology? Are you interested in learning more about medical assistant software training? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. PCI Health Training Center in Dallas & Richardson, Texas, is a private career training school committed to meeting the educational challenge of educating and graduating men and women who are qualified and job-ready for employment in the growing health care industry.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Why Do Med Assistants Take Vital Signs

Why Do Med Assistants Take Vital Signs

Vital signs are clinical measurements of the body’s essential functions. These readings help doctors diagnose disease and other medical conditions. Performed by a medical assistant, it’s a routine but critical task that requires technical expertise, skill, and accuracy.

What Are the Different Vital Signs?

The four principal vital signs are temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. Measures of clinical significance, including height, weight, and peripheral oxygen saturation, aren’t always a part of vital signs in all doctor’s offices; it depends on their specialty. Oxygen saturation is the percentage of oxygen in peripheral tissue and is a more valuable indicator of health as part of a cardiac workup than a gynecological exam.

When Does a Medical Assistant Take Vital Signs?

Medical assistants take vital signs at each visit. Changes in temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations can indicate an acute illness, but patterns over time are even more telling. A single elevated blood pressure reading, for example, is rarely clinically significant on its own, but an up or down trend over months could indicate a serious disorder.

How Are Vital Signs Taken?

Medical assistants take vital signs using the latest equipment and these methods:

Temperature

The normal adult body temperature is variable. 98.6 is only an average. The healthy range is between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is measured orally, rectally, tympanic, and on skin.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force blood exerts on artery walls during a two-part cardiac cycle. Systolic blood pressure, measured when the heart beats, reflects the strength of the muscle. It’s reported “over” the diastolic measurement, which is taken when the heart is relaxed. Together readings paint a picture of the patient’s cardiovascular function.

A medical assistant takes a patient’s BP with a sphygmomanometer, a device that measures the rise and fall of a column of mercury as air is added to, or released from, a cuff wrapped around the upper arm. The medical assistant records results as millimeters of mercury, or “mm Hg.”

Pulse

Arteries vibrate with every heartbeat. Medical assistants measure heart rate, or “pulse,” over the arteries in the wrist, neck or groin by counting the pulsations for 15 seconds and multiplying the result by four.

The rhythm and character of the beats are also noted. Patients with abnormal heart rates or rhythms require special care. Medical assistants use a stethoscope to listen to heartbeats directly because it’s easier to detect abnormalities.

Respiratory Rate

A patient’s respiratory rate is how many breaths they take in 60 seconds, adults average 12–16. Stress and anxiety can cause unexpected changes in how people breathe, so medical assistants count while making chit chat, so patients are unaware.

Height

Medical assistants measure height in inches or centimeters against a vertical surface. Using the same device and a consistent technique at each visit ensures accuracy.

Weight

Medical assistants obtain weight in pounds or kilograms using a standing scale. A few pounds gained or lost can be clinically significant, so precision counts.

Peripheral Oxygen Saturation

Oxygen saturation readings indicate how much hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance in blood, is reaching the brain and peripheral tissues. Readings are taken with a pulse oximeter that clamps to the patient’s fingertip. The medical assistant records results as a percentage. 95 to 100 is normal. Cold fingers and dark nail polish may cause abnormally low results.

Why Are Vital Signs Taken

Taking vital signs at every visit gives doctors a wealth of information that serves several important purposes.

It Establishes a Baseline

Changes in a patients’ vital signs can only be detected if they’ve been regularly monitored. Readings vary between individuals, and it’s essential not to make treatment decisions without knowing what’s normal for each patient.

It Can Diagnose Illness and Disease

A change in vital signs is often the first indicator of an acute illness. Specific patterns are recognized as indicative of certain conditions. An elevated temperature, pulse and respiratory rate, for example, may suggest infection.

Doctors use trends over time to diagnose disease. A few high blood pressure readings could be flukes, but if it remains elevated, it reflects hypertension, a primary disorder often rooted in heart or kidney disease. Accurate vital signs tell the doctor what to look for and what steps to take.

It’s Used to Calculate and Adjust Medication Dosages

Many medications are prescribed based on:

Heart Rate – Drugs for abnormal heart rhythms can lower heart rate too much. Patients on these medications are asked to check their pulse daily before taking a dose, adjusting it up or down based on rate.

Blood Pressure – Many people’s blood pressure is too variable for a preset dose of antihypertensive drugs, so instead, physicians prescribe a range of BP-related doses. These patients monitor their readings at home and take more or less medication based on the results.

BMI – Also known as body mass index, this reading is used to calculate dosage for a wide range of medications, from antibiotics to anticoagulants. BMI is a calculation using a patient’s height and weight, so those measurements must be accurate.

Oxygen Saturation – Levels are used to determine if someone needs supplemental oxygen or breathing medications. Dosages can be tricky because many people with respiratory issues also have heart disease, and doses for each condition vary. It’s a balancing act made safer by taking vital signs.

Final Thoughts

Medical assistants perform a broad range of administrative and clinical functions, but among the most meaningful is taking timely, accurate vital signs. These essential measures are a window into a patient’s health and a must for physicians to make sound, therapeutic decisions.

Did learning about taking vital signs interest you? Ready to become a medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.