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.