What is a Clinical Medical Assistant?

Clinical Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are typically jacks-of-all-trades. Trained in both clinical and clerical office procedures, they fill in the gaps between the health and business sides of medicine. In today’s large private practices, however, there are also opportunities to specialize in administrative or clinical areas exclusively. For those with an aptitude for science and a love of patient care, being a clinical medical assistant can be a dream come true.

What is a Clinical Medical Assistant?

All medical assistants, by definition, are cross-trained to handle a wide range of duties, but instead of making appointments and filling out insurance forms, clinical medical assistants focus solely on clinical tasks that require skill. Their understanding of the administrative procedures that correlate with clinical tasks only enhances their value to the team.

Where do Clinical Medical Assistants Work?

Clinical medical assistants can work in hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers, but more than 57% percent work in doctor’s offices, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Modern practices are expanding, offering a broad range of services from routine diagnostic tests to minor surgical procedures to meet the changing needs of a growing population. It saves clients a trip to the hospital and lowers the cost of care, but it requires a well-trained clinical staff to make it happen, and medical assistants are at the heart of it.

What Does a Clinical Medical Assistant Do?

Depending on the size and type of practice, a clinical medical assistant’s responsibilities may include preparing exam rooms, updating medical records, taking vital signs, assisting the doctor, phlebotomy, administering medications and immunizations, and patient education.

Preparing Examination Rooms
Clinical medical assistants know which supplies are most often used during exams, and they keep rooms well-stocked, so doctors have everything they need on hand. They make rooms comfortable for patients and their families, and they sanitize equipment before each visit to prevent the spread of infection.

Updating Medical Records
A patient’s medical records should contain all of the information necessary for healthcare providers to make sound treatment decisions. By reviewing medication and allergy lists before every exam, clinical medical assistants ensure records remain up to date while identifying inaccuracies and areas of concern for the physician to address. Catching errors early prevents costly medical mistakes.

Taking Vital Signs
Vital signs are essential measures of patients’ health. A clinical medical assistant takes them at each visit because trends in height, weight, blood pressure and heart rate can signal serious problems. Doctors also use vital signs to monitor the effects of treatment and calculate dosages for high-risk medications.

Assisting with Procedures
Minor surgical procedures can take more than two hands to complete. Clinical medical assistants are ready to help by handing the doctor instruments and collecting biological samples for testing. They also assist with post-procedure follow-up by removing sutures or staples and applying light dressings when necessary.

Phlebotomy
One way large practices are improving patient convenience is by offering on-site laboratory services. But phlebotomy, taking blood samples from a vein with a needle, requires technical expertise. Clinical medical assistants are trained not only to take samples but also to process them and submit them for analysis. In offices with in-house labs, they may also perform select tests and maintain laboratory equipment.

Administering Medications and Immunizations
Administering medications and vaccinations is one way clinical medical assistants support the nursing staff in a physician’s office, allowing them to concentrate on more complex issues. While giving shots seems easy, it’s a relatively complex procedure that includes educating the patient and obtaining consent. Technical know-how is required, as is the basic understanding of pharmacology.

Patient Education
Clients need guidance before, during and after appointments with their physician. With both medical know-how and technical skills, clinical medical assistants are the perfect staff persons to talk to clients about what to expect from their visit. From assisting with gathering specimens to explaining procedures, they help patients stay informed so they can better participate in their care.

Skills for Success for a Clinical Medical Assistant

Medical assistant training programs cover all of the technical skills necessary for success in the workplace but having the right blend of both practical and people skills is a plus for those choosing a clinical role. The list of skills a clinical medical assistant needs for success include compassion, communication, problem solving, and team spirit.

Compassion
Compassion is more than sensitivity toward the suffering of others, it’s the drive to help. At its core, it is what medicine is all about, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the technical aspects of healthcare and forget that people are more than the sum of their physical complaints. Only through compassion can clinical medical assistants work hand in hand with patients to support them through challenges and help them meet their goals.

Communication Skills
Clinical medical assistants serve as liaisons between patients and their doctors, so their demeanor and the professionalism with which they represent the practice can either open or close the doors of communication. Medical assistants working directly with patients should feel comfortable and confident engaging in conversation and building rapport. It’s the foundation of trust.

Problem-solving Ability
A doctor’s office is a fast-paced environment, and the unpredictable happens every day; that’s the nature of healthcare. Clinical medical assistants know that, so they approach small problems proactively and look for solutions to prevent them from escalating. It requires observation, critical thinking and the willingness to ask questions.

Team Spirit
Nothing is more important in healthcare than teamwork. In a doctor’s office, everyone has a specific job to do, but supporting one another is essential for the sake of patients. Working as a team in a large office can be challenging at times because people have different personalities and priorities. Team spirit requires putting aside personal differences to work toward a common goal. It takes effort and mutual respect to build healthy and productive interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

Final Thoughts

Careers in healthcare have many things in common. They’re exciting, meaningful and personally fulfilling, but some aren’t particularly flexible. One of the best parts about being a medical assistant is the ability to choose a focus that makes the most out of one’s talents and preferences. Anyone who enjoys providing the best in hands-on patient care will thrive as a clinical medical assistant.

Did learning about what a clinical medical assistant is 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.

Are Medical Assistants in High Demand?

Medical Assistants

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.

The Definitive Guide to Phlebotomy: A Medical Assistant’s Guide

Phlebotomy

Interested in becoming a medical assistant? One of the most important skills a medical assistant can learn is phlebotomy. Phlebotomy, or venipuncture, is the art of drawing blood from a vein with a needle. It’s a highly technical, multi-step skill that requires clinical know-how, good judgment and the ability to make clients feel at ease. Among the wide range of a medical assistant’s responsibilities, venipuncture is among the most essential.

Why is Phlebotomy Important?

Changes in the blood tell a doctor a lot about what’s going on in the body. Samples are used to diagnose and treat diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lyme disease
  • Liver and kidney disorders
  • Infections

Venipuncture is also used to conduct blood type tests that classify blood into groups based on the presence of surface antibodies is critical for transfusions and self-donation. Blood tests are also used to monitor therapeutic levels of medications, so doctors know if patients are getting enough or too much.

The Medical Assistant’s Role

Venipuncture may be just one part of a medical assistant’s day, but in larger practices or hospitals, phlebotomy can be a full-time job. Either way, the process consists of the same four steps. These steps include reviewing the order, educating the patient, obtaining consent and the actual act of venipuncture.

Reviewing the Order
Venipuncture is only performed with a doctor’s order. Medical assistants don’t decide which tests to do, but they must review orders carefully because each test requires different equipment and procedures.

Venipuncture is only one part of the testing process. Samples must be properly handled and correctly processed. Some tests require additional preparation on the part of the patient, such as fasting or taking a timed dose of medication.

Medical assistants are also responsible for coding requisitions and ensuring that diagnosis codes and tests match. Insurance companies won’t pay for a blood test to check for a broken bone. By evaluating orders, perceptive medical assistants can catch errors before they happen.

Educating the Patient
Clients have a right to know why venipuncture was ordered, how it will be performed, and what the risks are. With a working knowledge of both disease and laboratory procedures, medical assistants can help the doctor by ensuring patients are well informed. For example, because venipuncture breaks the skin, there is always a small risk of infection. Concerned patients will also want to know when to expect results and how they will be delivered.

Obtaining Consent
No medical procedure can be performed without a patient’s consent. Once the order has been checked and the patient understands the risk versus the benefits of testing, medical assistants are responsible for obtaining consent. A responsible parent or legal guardian must approve venipuncture for minors.

Venipuncture
Venipuncture is a standardized technical process. Strict protocols are in place to ensure that blood is drawn correctly every time. The laboratory equipment used to test blood is painstakingly calibrated, so mishandling samples may render them unusable. Technique matters.

Drawing blood is also a stressful event for some patients with trypanophobia or hemophobia, fear of needles or blood. Sound clinical judgment is essential. When patients are at high risk for complications, it’s critical to take every measure possible to minimize the impact.

Tools of the Trade

What type of equipment is used to perform venipuncture? The equipment includes gloves, alcohol pads, needles, tourniquets, vacuum tubes, gauze and bandages.

Gloves
To protect themselves and the patient from blood-borne disease, medical assistants perform venipuncture with gloves on, there are no exceptions.

Alcohol pads
Pre-moistened alcohol or chlorhexidine pads are used to cleanse the skin before inserting a needle. It doesn’t sterilize the area, but it reduces the number of bacteria and helps prevent infection.

Needles
Needles come in all sizes. Diameter is measured in gauge from 14 to 28, the larger the number, the smaller the needle. Based on the size of the patient and the condition of the vein, medical assistants choose the most appropriate size. For children, a 25 G needle is recommended, while a 20 or 22 G is more appropriate for adults.

Length is also important. The medial cubital vein at the crease of the elbow is typically the first choice for venipuncture, but the depth of the vein and the angle of approach may make longer or shorter needles better for the job. Choosing a needle with the optimal diameter and length increases the chances of success on the first attempt.

Tourniquets
A tourniquet helps confine blood to the arm, keeping the vein full and easier to see. It also makes blood vessels less likely to collapse under the pull of a vacuum tube.

Vacuum Tubes
Blood was once drawn with a syringe, but sealed vacuum tubes are now the norm. The strength of the vacuum alone pulls in blood at a pace that won’t damage blood cells. Color-coded tubes come preloaded with the additives necessary for specific tests, so it speeds up the process and reduces errors.

Gauze and Bandages
Since venipuncture pierces a vein, bleeding is to be expected. When the draw is complete, the site is compressed with gauze as pressure stops the bleeding. A small bandage will keep seepage from staining the patient’s clothing.

Skills for Success
There are a few skills that are needed for a successful venipuncture. These skills include empathy, critical thinking, and attention to detail.

Empathy
Venipuncture causes no more pain than a pinch, but for clients who are afraid of needles or blood, it’s scary. Medical assistants need to see the procedure from the patient’s point of view and do whatever it takes to keep patients safe and put them at ease.

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to assess facts and come to logical conclusions. Critical thinking is what helps a medical assistant choose the right equipment and venipuncture techniques for individual patients. Better decisions equal better outcomes.

Attention to Detail
Medical errors impact patient health. A misspelled name on a label can lead to mistaken identity and using a tube with the wrong additive may mean a sample is rejected. Mistakes not only require redraws, but they also delay care. Attention to detail for a medical assistant is a must.

Final Thoughts

Because medical assistants are cross trained in both clinical and administrative procedures, they’re the ideal team members to handle phlebotomy in a busy doctor’s office. It’s a demanding responsibility, but one that contributes significantly to quality patient care.

Did learning about phlebotomy 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 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.

Managing Geriatric Patients: A Medical Assistant’s Guide

The population of people over 65 in the United States is going to continue to grow in the next few decades. That poses a challenge for the healthcare system, but it also creates unique career opportunities for medical assistants. Geriatrics, the care of older adults, is among the fastest up and coming specialties. For anyone interested in working with seniors, it’s the perfect time to get involved.

What is Geriatrics?

Geriatrics is defined as care of the aging, but it’s more than that. While other branches of medicine focus exclusively on curing disease, geriatrics seeks to prevent disability. It’s a critical distinction because as the body grows more fragile, even a minor illness can result in the loss of independence.

Managing medical issues, especially chronic conditions such as dementia and diabetes, is an important part of geriatrics. But it’s only one part of a greater mission, to help seniors remain independent and live life to the fullest.

What are Geriatric Patient Needs

Geriatrics is holistic in nature. It considers the aging adult as a whole person, not a collection of symptoms or complaints. Geriatric practitioners know that senior health depends on a wide range of physical, emotional, social and financial factors. Geriatric medical assistants contribute to patient wellness by helping with all of those things, but it takes a special touch.

Senior patients have challenges that require medical assistants to adjust their techniques. For example, maintaining a neat and comfortable waiting area isn’t enough. Many elderly patients have mobility issues that require adaptive equipment, so spaces must allow for the safe movement of wheelchairs, walkers and canes.

Checking in younger patients is quick, but older adults with sensory or cognitive impairments may need extra attention. From keeping things quiet so seniors can hear, to offering patient education materials in large print, geriatric care involves constant adaptation to the needs of a very diverse patient population.

Where Geriatric Medical Assistants Work

Most geriatric medical assistants work in doctor’s offices. But as geriatricians try to reach the elderly at the community level, medical assisting jobs in alternative settings such as nursing facilities, assisted living centers, senior housing complexes, social work agencies and community centers are growing. Wherever seniors need care, medical assistants are an asset.

Skills for Geriatric Medical Assistants

A medical assistant providing geriatric care will need a few skills to succeed, including sensitivity, compassion, simplicity, awareness, and open-mindedness.

Sensitivity

Seniors are individuals. One patient may need no more assistance than a young adult while another could need help every step of the way. The elderly are sensitive to changes in their level of function. Medical assistants need to walk a fine line between offering help and respecting a client’s independence. It takes finesse and sensitivity.

Compassion

Empathy is the ability to sense suffering, compassion is the willingness to help. The elderly are particularly vulnerable, and they need strong support from medical assistants who are willing to go the extra mile.

Simplicity

Seniors are from a simpler time. Their perspective is different than those who have decades of life ahead of them. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to learn new things or be attentive to details, but for the elderly, simple information is more actionable.

Awareness

Aging causes both physical and cognitive decline. While some seniors are acutely aware of these changes, others are dangerously less cognizant. Octogenarians may say they take their medications as prescribed, but they may not recognize they have a memory impairment. Medical assistants need to be aware of subtle behaviors that indicate they need to dig further when investigating symptoms.

Open-mindedness

Just because the elderly need assistance doesn’t mean they forfeit their right to self-determination. It’s easy to approach seniors as if they’re children, but they’re not. They’re adults with the right to make their own decisions, even when their choices differ from their doctor’s recommendations.

As a patient, it’s the senior’s goals, whatever they may be, that should drive a therapeutic relationship. Only by being respectful and open-minded can a medical assistant be genuinely supportive of what patients want.

Final Thoughts

Many Americans are fast approaching retirement age, and with that comes a growing need for healthcare, but there’s a shortage of qualified providers. As front-line caregivers, geriatric medical assistants have the right blend of administrative and clinical skills to bridge the gap.

Did learning about managing geriatric patients 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 programs 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.

Medical Assistant vs Medical Office Assistant

Medical Assistant

A healthcare team is only as good as its support specialists. Patients are best served when doctors and nurses have skilled associates working behind the scenes to keep things organized and running smoothly. Among the most essential team members are medical assistants and medical office assistants.

What’s the difference between a medical assistant and a medical office assistant?

The job titles sound similar, and both careers share a comparable history. Medical assisting and office assisting have been recognized as distinct occupations since the 1950s, and today, both have highly regarded professional organizations that set the standards for their specialties.

In many ways, the duties of a medical assistant and a medical office assistant overlap. But in general, a medical office assistant is an exclusively administrative specialist while a medical assistant is cross trained to tackle both clerical and clinical tasks. Each has a vital, but different role.

Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants work primarily in doctor’s offices, but their role is expanding to other settings, to include hospitals, outpatient clinics and insurance companies. Where medical professionals need organizational support, medical office assistants are in demand.

As a representative of the healthcare team, they manage a broad range of administrative responsibilities, such as:

  • Answering the phone
  • Overseeing the schedule
  • Greeting patients
  • Managing the reception area
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Aiding with billing
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Transcribing visit notes
  • Performing light accounting
  • Helping with payment inquires
  • Ordering office supplies

A vocational school education offers training in office procedures as well as other courses that emphasize the managerial needs of a healthcare practice. Unlike a medical assistant’s education, medical office assistants receive more training in subjects such as medical coding, billing and insurance. A medical office assistant has the ideal skills to help patients with their non-medical needs.

What skills does a medical office assistant need for success? As the first point of contact between patients and their healthcare team, medical office assistants should be courteous and professional. Clients should feel at ease approaching them with concerns and equally confident that they will handle their needs with care.

As the organizational experts that providers depend upon for productivity, a medical office assistant is called to be a fearless multitasker who is both attentive to detail and aware of the bigger picture.

Medical office assistants are the ambassadors of first impressions and should be:

  • Positive
  • Reliable
  • Flexible
  • Focused
  • Knowledgeable
  • Friendly and courteous

Excellent communication skills, including the ability to read and write confidently, are vital. Comfort with modern technology such as computers and electronic office equipment is a must.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants can handle most of the administrative functions in a hospital or private practice, but their education is less intensive in clerical procedures than clinical training. Medical assistants give doctors and nurses more time to focus on complex patient care by taking on medically important tasks that don’t require their attention. The talents of medical assistants are the perfect match for busy outpatient settings.

Medical office assistants are more likely to be involved in billing, coding and financial activities. While medical assistants tackle assignments that require a degree of clinical expertise such as:

  • Triaging patient symptoms over the phone
  • Managing outside referrals
  • Scheduling patients for diagnostic testing or surgical procedures
  • Ordering medical equipment and supplies

Hands-on clinical duties include:

  • Obtaining height, weight and vital signs
  • Reviewing patients’ medication and allergy lists
  • Helping clients with limited mobility
  • Keeping exam rooms disinfected and well-stocked
  • Giving immunizations
  • Providing first aid
  • Removing stitches or staples
  • Assisting with in-office surgical procedures
  • Sanitizing instruments
  • Drawing blood and collecting urine samples
  • Performing basic lab tests
  • Providing patient education

In small practices, medical assistants tend to be jacks-of-all-trades. Their responsibilities in large, multi-provider practices may have more of a clerical or clinical focus, and their duties will vary significantly based on the type of practice. For example, their role may be more defined in a specialist’s office.

Among the most important skills for medical assistants to possess are flexibility and the ability to communicate confidently. Being able to change gears in a moment, to adapt to shifting responsibilities is essential. No two days are alike on the clinical side of healthcare.

Medical assistants spend more one-on-one time with patients than their purely administrative counterparts. Providing education and hands-on care is a significant part of the job.

To do that, medical assistants should be:

  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Approachable
  • Versatile
  • Dependable
  • Sensitive
  • Open-minded and discrete

Like doctors and nurses, ongoing education is a must for medical assistants. The medical field is continually changing, so a love of learning and the willingness to take on new challenges is vital.

Career Growth Opportunities

For students interested in healthcare, both medical assisting and medical office assisting are rewarding career choices. Medical assistants have more diverse training, so it seems like they have more opportunities, but both fields of study have similar potential. Medical office assisting is simply more focused.

Graduates of either program are employment-ready, but obtaining voluntary certification demonstrates commitment and can lead to professional growth. Graduating from a vocational school program is just the beginning of a long and rewarding career.

With experience and a diploma, a medical office assistant can qualify to become a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). This credential can help the right candidates grow into supervisory or office management positions.

Students graduating from an accredited medical assisting program qualify for certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certification is especially valuable for medical assistants because major insurers require it for tasks like entering doctor’s orders into electronic health records. It not only makes a job applicant more valuable, but it also opens the door to more responsible roles.

Final Thoughts

Healthcare occupations are among the most diverse and fastest growing in the country. And the best part is, there’s room for people with both clinical and administrative aptitude. With the right training, a new career as a respected medical support specialist is right around the corner.

Did learning about medical assistants and medical office 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 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.



Want 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.

What Can I Do with a Medical Office Assistant Diploma?

Doctors and nurses can heal the sick, but they can’t do it alone. Someone has to do the broad range of administrative tasks that are a necessary part of every patient encounter. Who are these versatile support specialists? They’re medical office assistants, and they’re in demand. The good news is that with a few months of training and a diploma, anyone can be prepared to fill this vital role.

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Medical office assistants are part of a caring team of healthcare professionals committed to giving patients the best care possible. While doctors and nurses focus on the clinical aspects of medicine, medical office assistants are the logistical superstars that keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Their responsibilities include handling office communication, scheduling appointments, maintaining the reception area, managing medical records, general accounting, and ordering office supplies and equipment.

Handling Office Communication

When a patient calls a healthcare provider, they depend on the person answering the telephone to handle their needs. Whether they call to schedule a visit or to report worrisome symptoms, patients want to hear a confident, knowledgeable voice on the other end of the line.

Diploma programs give medical office assistants the background they need in healthcare terminology and office procedures, so graduates are prepared and ready to help.

Scheduling Appointments

Medical office assistants are responsible for scheduling patient visits, but there’s much more to it than filling in empty time slots. In a large practice, a medical office assistant might have to juggle several schedules as well as manage equipment and personnel needs for dozens of visits per day.

Practice management software makes the job easier, but skills learned in a diploma program help a medical office assistant troubleshoot issues and keep the clinical staff’s day on track.

Maintaining the Reception Area

Medical office assistants are the ambassadors of first impressions. The skill with which they greet clients and make the reception area comfortable reflect upon the whole team.

Greeting patients when they arrive, updating their medical records and handling inquiries are important parts of the job that require a friendly, approachable demeanor. Professionalism is expected.

Managing Medical Records

Few things matter as much to the delivery of quality healthcare as accurate medical records. Errors in demographic and insurance information can delay needed care and contribute to medical errors, so focus and attention to detail are critical.

As part of their duties, medical office assistants update patient data at each visit. They also manage the flow of sensitive health information between doctors and patients, as well as referring providers. As part of a diploma program, students learn how to manage electronic health records while maintaining confidentially. Integrity is a must.

General Accounting

In a hospital or large private practice, billing specialists are typically responsible for completing insurance claims and determining the amount owed for services rendered. But as the point of first and last contact during a visit, the medical office assistant may be asked to collect copayments and review accounts for unpaid balances while the patient is present. In a smaller setting, they may be more involved in the complete billing process.

Ordering Office Supplies and Equipment

Equipment and office supplies are a large part of a practice’s operating budget, so they need to be carefully managed. Because medical office assistants know what each department needs, they are often responsible for doing the ordering, in addition to evaluating vendors and negotiating lower costs.

Other duties may include:

  • Transcribing doctor’s notes
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Helping with marketing and patient education
  • Assisting with human resources and more

 
Where Do Medical Office Assistants Work?

Most medical office assistants work in doctor’s offices, but their skills are also a perfect match for hospitals and clinics. As part of a training program, a medical office assistant receives general education in a broad range of topics, making them valuable in virtually any healthcare setting.

Hospitals and Clinics

In a hospital, a medical office assistant is most likely to work in one specific department and be engaged in a focused task. An assistant in medical records might spend the day helping doctors and patients find documentation related to past visits, while someone working in the financial office may field patient inquiries or work side by side with billing specialists. With a diploma and experience, medical office assistants working in hospitals may grow into supervisory roles.

Doctor’s Offices

A medical office assistant employed in a private practice is more likely to be a jack-of-all-trades. In a large practice, they might start exclusively in a front- or back-office position. But in a small practice, they may be involved in nearly every operation, from answering the phone to working on financial reports.

Medical office assistants who enjoy wearing many hats excel in doctors’ offices where they have exposure to the many aspects of office management. With education and on the job experience, they can become office managers.

How Important is a Diploma?

Healthcare is a complex industry, and positions carry significant personal responsibility. As medical professionals, employers are ultimately liable for the performance of their office staff, so they prefer to hire trained applicants with proven skills whenever possible. A diploma opens the door to a wider range of opportunity.

Final Thoughts

Anywhere medical professionals work, knowledgeable office support specialists are needed. In less than a year, students in a medical office assistant training program can receive their diplomas and be on their way to an exciting career in healthcare. Success is just around the corner, so why wait?

Did you enjoy reading about managing the front office of a medical facility or doctor’s office? Want 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.

11 Important Skills for a Successful Medical Office Assistant

Behind every well-organized healthcare practice is a medical office assistant. These superstar support specialists keep things running smoothly by tackling the many administrative tasks that are an important part of every patient visit. Students interested in a rewarding career in healthcare can train to become a medical office assistant in as little as 6 months. During schooling, externships and on the job, the students will build the right blend of practical and soft skills to be successful as a medical office assistant.

Skill #1: Computer Savvy

Computers have revolutionized healthcare. Today’s modern practices use advanced software for storing medical records and submitting insurance claims. A medical office assistant will use a computer to manage most tasks throughout the day as well as typical office equipment like business calculators, copiers, fax machines and multi-line phone systems. Vocational school training programs cover practice management software and improving basic keyboard skills as being comfortable using computers is a must.

Skill #2: Good Communication

Medical office assistants are a client’s primary point of contact with their physician, so having good communication skills is essential. From fielding telephone calls and scheduling appointments to checking patients in and out, a medical office assistant is usually the first and last person a patient talks to when they visit.

As a representative of the entire healthcare team, a medical office assistant must be knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. They should be able to express their thoughts confidently both verbally and in writing. Professionalism is vital.

Skill #3: Organizational Knowledge

Medical offices are fast-paced environments, and support staff should be able to multitask without losing focus. A medical office assistant manages a broad range of administrative responsibilities that are similar from day to day, but they also need to shift gears quickly when emergencies arise. It’s not always easy, but possessing good organizational skills prevent difficult situations from becoming overwhelming.

Skill #4: Compassion

Being compassionate means having a genuine sensitivity to the needs of others. Every day, medical office assistants work with physically and emotionally vulnerable people from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Since a client’s well-being is the focus of everything they do, a deep sense of compassion and a desire to assist those in need is necessary to keep things in perspective.

Skill #5: Personal Accountability

Few fields demand as much personal accountability as healthcare. Standards for behavior are high, and reliability and trustworthiness are expected. A clear sense of responsibility helps a medical office assistant work through professional challenges, and it supports decision-making that is in the best interest of clients. Practicing first-class medicine requires thoughtful team members who are accountable for their own actions and their consequences.

Skill #6: Confidentiality

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, regulates who can access a patient’s medical record, and it restricts the disclosure of data without informed consent. A large part of a medical office assistant’s job is to safeguard medical records by following security protocols and handling sensitive information with care. Details can’t be shared with colleagues who aren’t involved in the case, and they can’t be discussed with family or friends. HIPAA violations can result in financial penalties for employers and termination for staff.

Skill #7: Attention to Detail

Medical office assistants don’t make life and death clinical decisions, but even minor mistakes in healthcare can have serious effects. A misspelled name, an incorrect date of birth or an outdated insurance number can cause mistaken identity, claims denials and lengthy delays in care. Accuracy and attention to detail prevent problems that slow down everyone’s day. In medicine, they’re indispensable skills.

Skill #8: Problem-Solving

Medical office assistants are problem solvers at heart. They understand there is much at stake in healthcare, so when difficult or unexpected situations occur, they approach them proactively. Problem-solving is a meticulous, multi-step process. A medical office assistant needs a combination of technical expertise and the willingness to research issues and analyze facts to bring solutions to the table. A lot can go wrong in a day, and the ability to solve problems in the front office can keep the whole team’s day on track.

Skill #9: Team Spirit

Providing quality healthcare is always a team effort. In a medical setting, everyone from physicians to the cleaning crew has a meaningful job to do, and results are best when everyone does their part. It can be challenging in an office setting full of different personalities. It sometimes requires setting aside self-interest to develop good interpersonal relationships with both colleagues and patients.

Skill #10: A Commitment to Learning

Medicine is always evolving, and it never sits on its laurels. It continually seeks ways to improve, and it’s expected that everyone involved will do the same. For a medical office assistant, graduating from a vocational school program is just the first step on a lifelong path of learning.

Skill #11: A Positive Attitude

Patients and colleagues appreciate working with team members who are appropriately sober, yet relaxed and fun-loving. A positive attitude helps patients relax, and it reduces workplace stress among colleagues. Providing top-quality care is a serious mission, but sometimes, a smile and a little laughter are the best medicine.

If the list of skills a medical office assistant needs to be successful sounds intimidating, it shouldn’t be. It’s always important for students considering their career options to do some soul-searching and consider which skills and qualities enhance their chance of success on any given path. But while a fortunate few have what it takes right out of the gate to be a medical office assistant, both practical and soft skills can be learned.

Did learning about the important skills for a successful medical office assistant interest you? 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.

What are the Different Medical Assistant Specialties?

 
Medical assistants are the master support specialists that healthcare providers count on to keep their practices running efficiently. Cross-trained in administrative, clinical and technical tasks, most have a diverse range of responsibilities. From answering the telephone and managing the schedule to working in the lab and providing direct patient care, wherever doctors and nurses are, medical assistants are there to help. But as healthcare becomes more complex, there are more opportunities than ever before for medical assistants to work in select areas of interest. These are some of the most popular specialties.

Specialty #1: Medical Administrative Office Assistant
 
Doctors want patients who are visiting their practices to have frustration-free experiences, but between the office and the exam room lies an obstacle course of administrative issues that can throw even the most carefully planned appointments off track.

With their unique blend of clerical expertise and knowledge of clinical applications, medical office administrative assistants guide clients through the delicate maze of schedules, information updates, insurance matters and more, making what could be a difficult process stress free. By keeping things running smoothly, they boost providers’ productivity and enhance patient satisfaction. Responsibilities may include:

  • Managing the schedule
  • Triaging telephone calls
  • Checking in patients
  • Updating medical records
  • Maintaining charts
  • Assisting with billing and insurance inquires
  • Forwarding referrals
  • Scheduling patients for off-site diagnostic tests
  • Ordering supplies
  • Accepting payments

 
Most medical administrative office assistants work in doctors’ offices under the supervision of an administrator, but jobs are also available at hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies.

Positions require a combination of both clerical and interpersonal skills, plus an understanding of medical terminology and the basics of clinical practice. Comfort with computers and medical records management software is a plus, and the ability to multitask is essential.

Customer service skills are especially valuable when working with patients from different backgrounds. Often the first person a visiting patient sees, when medical assistants greet patients with warmth and professionalism they build a patient’s confidence in the entire healthcare team.

Specialty #2: Clinical Medical Assistant

All medical assistants can handle administrative functions, but some focus more on providing patient care. Once clients are checked in, a clinical medical assistant prepares them to be seen by the physician. What a clinical medical assistant can do is defined in part by state law so responsibilities will vary, but the role typically encompasses tasks such as:

  • Reviewing medical history
  • Updating medication and allergy lists
  • Noting current complaints
  • Taking vital signs
  • Performing routine diagnostic tests
  • Sanitizing exam rooms
  • Helping clients with limited mobility
  • Assisting with minor surgery
  • Removing sutures or staples
  • Administering medications and vaccines
  • Educating patients about upcoming procedures and other medical needs

 
As the liaison between clients and licensed healthcare providers, clinical medical assistants must be thoughtful and compassionate. The way they handle a client’s therapeutic needs reflects on the entire practice, so a gentle demeanor and a professional attitude are a must. Clinical medical assistants don’t diagnose or treat illness, but everything they do is in support of those roles so attention to detail is essential.

Additional clinical specialties for medical assistants include geriatrics, pediatrics, cardiology, urology, and women’s health. The possibilities are limited only by interest.

Specialty #3: Technical Medical Assistants

In addition to training in clinical and administrative tasks, medical assistants also learn to perform technical tasks including:

  • Sterilizing instruments
  • Basic Maintaining of lab equipment
  • Collecting specimens suc as blood or urine
  • Performing laboratory and diagnostic tests
  • Monitoring quality control

 
Some of these responsibilities are part of a clinical medical assistant’s role in smaller settings, but as private practices grow larger, dedicated technical support specialties are evolving.

Once done exclusively in hospitals, minor surgical procedures and routine diagnostics are now performed in doctor’s offices. While it’s easier for patients to have services delivered at a single site, the rules surrounding the care and maintenance of equipment don’t change. Proper sanitation and safety of medical gear are paramount, and the same level of expertise is required to perform procedures regardless of the setting.

A medical assistant’s duties may vary depending on the specialty of the practice. A medical assistant working in a dermatology practice, for example, may focus on clinical proecdures which may include instrument sterilization. In a cardiology practice, a medical assistant may focus on performing electrocardiograms.

Technical specialties are perfect opportunities for those who enjoy science or who prefer to master one task rather than be a jack-of-all-trades. Math, reading and time management skills contribute to the success of this type of position.

Specialty #4: Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist draws blood samples, but there’s much more to the job than that. The results of blood tests are a large part of how physicians diagnose illness and make treatment decisions, so using appropriate techniques when obtaining and handling samples is critical. As part of the role, medical assistants working as phlebotomists are expected to:

  • Understand the basics of test methodology
  • Properly identify patients and ask screening questions when necessary
  • Accurately label specimen containers
  • Sanitize equipment and maintain strict infection control procedures
  • Educate and patients about the blood drawing process and ensure their comfort
  • Properly process, preserve and ship samples

 
Because phlebotomist work with patients of all ages, including children, they must be proficient in a variety of ways to take samples and minimize complications.

As part of a medical assistant program, students learn how to perform venipuncture and process the samples they obtain. A well-rounded education that includes training in clerical and clinical procedures makes medical assistants more attractive job candidates to potential employers.

What skills benefit a phlebotomist? Attention to detail and critical thinking skills matter foremost. Using an improper technique can render samples unusable and delay care, while making simple errors in labeling can lead to significant medical mistakes. While performing phlebotomy the medical assistant may encounter complications and therefore must be prepared to manage them.

Medical assistants can work as phlebotomists in doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals. Seeking additional training as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician improves venipuncture skills, and when combined with existing training, it opens up positions requiring greater responsibility.

With their ideal blend of organizational, technical and interpersonal skills, medical assistants are in demand. For students who have an aptitude or desire to work in a select part of the field, specialties are growing quickly. Choose a position with stable responsibilities or opt for one that changes daily. The best part of a career as a medical assistant is that it can offer both consistency and flexibility.

Did learning about the different medical assistant specialties 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 programs 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.

Is it Easy to Become a Dental Assistant?

 
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.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

Interested in becoming a medical assistant? Want to know how to become a medical assistant? Becoming a successful medical assistant involves getting an education from an accredited vocational school that offers on-campus training programs. You should also possess certain personal qualities. These can be learned along your path to becoming a medical assistant.

Why become a medical assistant? Medical assisting is one of the top 20 fastest growing occupations in the United States. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 29 percent between the years 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re interested in entering the medical field without spending more than one year in school, and you’re service-oriented and flexible, this career path is a good fit.

Educational Requirements

Medical assistants typically need to complete a vocational program. Completing an official vocational program can have many benefits, one of them being that you’ll receive certification that proves you’ve gone through an accredited training course.

Usually, the program will include laboratory and classroom training. There may also be an externship assignment in which you get clinical and clerical experience by doing a certain number of hours in an actual medical assisting environment.

On-Campus Training Programs

With an on-campus program, you’ll attend your laboratory sessions and classes in a traditional campus setting. The program utilizes a set schedule and might even have classes in the evenings. On-campus programs give you face-to-face instructor interaction and a highly structured learning environment. You may create bonds with fellow classmates that will last for years to come. In person interactions also leads to greater networking opportunities.

Qualities of a Successful Medical Assistant

There are a few qualities and abilities you should have if you’re going to pursue a career as a medical assistant. Most of these qualities involve skills that can be taught.

Compassion and a Willingness to Help

Compassion is an important quality for anyone in the healthcare field to possess. You should also be willing to help. As a medical assistant, you’ll work closely with patients. Many of your duties will involve communicating with patients and sometimes acting as a communication bridge between them and doctors or specialists.

These are common duties a medical assistant uses to interact with patients:

  • Conducting patient interviews to record medical history, confirm the purpose of the visit, and answer questions
  • Preparing patients for their examinations by checking vital signs, to include body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and oxygen saturation
  • Educating patients regarding their physician’s orders
  • Scheduling surgeries by making the proper arrangements with surgical centers, verifying times with the patient, and obtaining all necessary consent forms

The Ability to Manage Clerical and Clinical Duties

A good portion of medical assisting is helping to keep the office, hospital, or other clinical setting running smoothly by dealing with day-to-day clerical duties. On the administrative side, a medical assistant will perform the following duties:

  • Securing patient information by adhering to confidentiality standards when taking and sharing the patient’s information
  • Establishing and following basic procedures and standards that help the workplace function securely and safely
  • Complying with basic legal regulations regarding healthcare practices
  • Keeping supplies ready by tracking the inventory, placing necessary orders, and verifying the receipt of new supplies

On the clinical side of medical assisting, typical duties involve:

  • Keeping the equipment operating properly by following the operating instructions, performing preventative maintenance, and calling in repairs as needed
  • Preparing medical equipment for use by professionals and using it to perform basic medical examinations

A Desire to Continue Learning

Medical assistants are constantly learning new technologies and procedures. Each new setting may have its own type of software, organization, and unique challenges. In addition, medical assistants constantly learn new information about patients and general medical care. An ability to learn quickly and a drive to continue learning is important for a medical assistant to be successful.

Did learning about how to become a medical assistant 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 programs 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, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.