Medical Assistant Education and Job Outlook
The healthcare industry offers a wide variety of entry-level positions for qualified allied health professionals. Medical assistant training can provide a path into the allied health field, including the opportunity to learn valuable skills sought by today's healthcare employers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the healthcare industry will add more jobs than any other industry through 20181 – and medical assistant employment is among the occupations contributing to that growth.2 You can help meet the demand for skilled healthcare workers by pursuing medical assistant education.
What Is the Role of a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants provide a range of services in hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing homes and other healthcare settings. While specific duties will vary according to the type of practice, medical assistants may perform administrative or clinical tasks – or a combination of both.
Administrative medical assistant requirements might include updating patient records, ordering laboratory tests, scheduling appointments, completing insurance forms, processing bills and arranging for hospital admissions. These healthcare workers often interact with patients and medical staff, providing information and support.
Clinical medical assistants may be called on to perform other duties, such as recording patient histories, taking vital signs, sterilizing medical instruments, and collecting and preparing laboratory specimens. They may also aid physicians during patient exams, help patients understand procedures and treatments, prepare and administer medications and change dressings.
Medical Assistant Requirements and Training
While some employers may provide on-the-job training, many give preference to applicants with formal medical assistant education. Another way candidates can distinguish themselves is by obtaining industry-recognized credentials, such as Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
Medical assistant training programs can help students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to qualify for entry-level positions. Some medical assistant programs are also designed to help students prepare for certification exams. Certification demonstrates a level of proficiency that many employers seek, and can potentially expand a candidate's job opportunities.
Other medical assistant requirements may include the ability to clearly communicate medical information and perform job duties in a professional, courteous and confidential manner.
Medical Assistant Job Outlook
According to the BLS, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow much faster than the average occupation, with an expected 34% increase between 2008 and 2018.2
The BLS attributes this employment growth to technological advances in medicine, along with an increasing need for healthcare services among today’s rising middle-age and senior citizen population. Other factors – such as the prevalence of conditions like diabetes and obesity – are also likely to contribute to the rising demand for medical assistants, as doctors are able to care for more patients when they have medical assistants to handle clinical and administrative duties.
Because of this anticipated growth, the BLS expects the medical assistant job outlook to be “excellent.” Medical assistants with relevant training, experience or certification should be in a good position to compete for entry-level jobs.
UMA's Medical Assistant Education and Career Services
If a career as a medical assistant sounds like a good fit for you, formal medical assistant training can help you develop the skills and knowledge required to transition into or advance within the healthcare field.
Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers a Medical Assistant diploma program that is designed to train students for entry-level positions in this growing allied health field. Students can complete their medical assistant education in as few as 10 months and may attend classes in Tampa or Clearwater, Florida.
In UMA’s Medical Assistant diploma program, students receive specialized training in a variety of clinical and business skills, including:
- Preparing patients for procedures
- Administering drugs
- Collecting and analyzing samples
- Assisting with EKGs
- Administering CPR
- Managing electronic medical records
- Processing insurance claims
Students who wish to attain a higher level of education may opt to pursue a medical assistant degree. UMA offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences with a concentration in Medical Assistant. In addition to the core medical assistant courses featured within the diploma curriculum, students in the degree program take general education courses in biology, mathematics, social sciences and English, plus electives such as patient relations, psychology, computers and accounting.
Both of UMA's medical assistant programs feature a valuable externship opportunity, where students may apply their new skills and interact with patients in a local healthcare facility. This hands-on practice can enhance a graduate’s value to potential employers by providing experience healthcare organizations seek.
Upon completion of UMA’s medical assistant diploma or degree program, students are ready to take the RMA and CMA exams. Test preparation classes help students brush up on the topics covered in the medical assistant certification exams. With UMA credentials and industry certification, graduates can demonstrate they fulfill many of the medical assistant requirements employers seek.
All of UMA's medical assistant program instructors have relevant healthcare experience, providing students with a well-rounded introduction to the field. Medical assistant diploma and degree students also receive support from UMA's Career Services team members, who are dedicated to helping each student achieve his or her healthcare career goals.
Pursuing Medical Assistant Education Can Help You Prepare For a Healthcare Career
If you’re looking to take the first step toward an entry-level position in the healthcare field, consider enrolling in UMA’s Medical Assistant diploma or associate degree program. Whichever option you choose, your medical assistant education will provide the opportunity to learn technical skills and gain industry-relevant knowledge that employers need.
UMA is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), which attests to the quality of education provided by the medical assistant training programs. Since 1994, thousands of graduates have completed UMA’s healthcare training and embarked on careers in the allied health field. When you enroll in one of UMA’s medical assistant programs, you can soon be on your way to joining their ranks.
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Career Guide to Industries, 2010-2011. “Healthcare.” <http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs035.htm>
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition. “Medical Assistants.” <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos164.htm#outlook>
For information on student graduation rates, retention and placement rates, and student financial obligations, visit www.ultimatemedical.edu/consumerinfo.