If you're like a lot of people, then you may be interested in a healthcare career but not interested in working through 8-10 years of schooling to get there.
Here's the good news: many fast-growing careers in the medical field today require 2-year associate degrees or less.
Careers like this still offer important responsibilities and rewarding work in the medical field for those who have a passion for helping people.
One of these career tracks is medical administrative assistant. These positions are projected to grow 22% through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the positions give you an opportunity to interact with patients in a medical office or facility.
Read on to learn more about this option and see if it's the right career for you.
What is a Medical Administrative Assistant?
Essentially, medical administrative assistants or medical secretaries work in an administrative capacity within hospitals, healthcare facilities, or clinics. They typically use knowledge of medical terms, procedures, and applications to do their jobs.
Medical administrative assistants can work in lots of different locations, and their job titles and specific duties can be varied and widespread depending on their employer.
The role of medical administrative assistant offers a unique combination of direct and indirect patient-related duties. One of these duties is to be the first person patients interact with upon entering the hospital or clinic.
What Does a Medical Administrative Assistant do Day-to-Day?
As a medical administrative assistant, your major goal is typically to assist in keeping the hospital or facility running smoothly.
A few responsibilities of most medical administrative assistants include:
- Checking patients in for scheduled appointments
- Answering phones and maintaining databases
- Keeping track of medical records and charts
- Transferring lab results to appropriate technicians
- Ordering supplies and maintaining general office standards
Your day-to-day experiences as a medical administrative assistant can change depending on what kind of practice you're working for, as well as the department you're serving in that practice.
You can expect to do a fair amount of filing and paperwork, plus interacting with both patients and physicians.
Overall, you're likely to spend your time helping physicians keep the operation running smoothly. You'll also help patients feel comfortable and satisfied with their patient experience.
What Skills Does a Good Medical Administrative Assistant Have?
A good medical administrative assistant can have many different skills. Some that might help you transition into this role include:
- Decision-making skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to write and communicate well
Some of the skills you need to be a medical administrative assistant have to do with your personality and general interests, but many are skills you can learn over the course of your schooling and career training.
To help you decide whether or not your skills, interests, and personality could make you the perfect fit for this role, consider checking out our fun and informal personality quiz.
What's the Demand for Medical Administrative Assistants?
Medical administrative assistants work in all kinds of medical practices. Hospitals, clinics, private practices, and other official medical operations typically have a need for medical administrative assistants.
So, what does that mean for you?
First of all, it means that the demand for administrative assistants in the medical field is high. Second, it means that the job outlook as a medical administrative assistant is positive.
The expected growth for this position is high, as well. The demand for medical secretaries will increase by 22% between 2016 and 2026. This fact is mostly due to the country's aging population and resulting increase in the need for elderly care.
If you're interested in pursuing a career as a medical administrative assistant, this is all good news for you.
What Does a Medical Administrative Assistant Make a Year?
It's hard to say just how much you'll make as a medical administrative assistant. This is because there are many different factors that influence salaries, although there are some observable national trends.
For instance, the state in which you decide to work as a medical administrative can have a big effect on your salary. The sort of medical operation you choose to work for (emergency room, private practice, clinic, etc.) can also have an impact on how much you're paid.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest 10% of people in medical secretary positions earned $24,240 as of May 2017, while the highest 10% took home around $50,340.
Overall, it's important to note the findings of an independent study published by Georgetown University–which highlight the fact that individuals who hold an Associate's Degree can potentially earn roughly $400,000 more in lifetime earnings than those who hold just a high school diploma.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports a difference in earnings between high school diploma and associate degree holders. As of 2017, those with an associate degree earned an average of $124 more per paycheck, or $6,448 per year.
Regardless of the exact salary you're able to achieve, you may see an increase in your earning potential if you pursue education.
The majority of medical secretaries and administrative assistants have full-time work schedules. Some people work evening or holiday hours to cover the necessary shifts, and they're typically compensated accordingly, although pay policies vary from employer to employer.
How Do I Become a Medical Administrative Assistant?
The role of medical administrative assistant is dynamic, and it can be really exciting and fulfilling.
If this sounds interesting to you, then you may be wondering what you'll need to do to start working toward your career as a medical administrative assistant.
One of the great things about becoming a medical administrative assistant is that you don't necessarily need to spend the next 10 years in school.
There are diploma and associate degree programs available for this field of study. You can find programs online, like Ultimate Medical Academy's Medical Administrative Assistant program.
In your coursework, you'll learn things like medical terminology, medical law, medical ethics, medical administration technologies, and customer service in healthcare.
While you're studying to be a medical administrative assistant, you might also want to find externship opportunities or other chances to volunteer and work with professionals who are performing relevant duties.
This will not only help you achieve hands-on experience before entering the workforce, but may also give you a competitive advantage when it comes to the job search.
If you successfully complete your training, you'll earn your Medical Administrative Assistant diploma or associate degree, depending on your program. Then you'll be qualified for entry-level positions in this field.
What Else Should I Know About Becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant?
While the full list of duties and job outlook for medical administrative assistants may seem slightly overwhelming, it's important to keep in mind the most essential aspects of the career.
As a medical administrative assistant, it's your responsibility to serve as the backbone of the office's administrative tasks, and as the friendly face that helps patients through their visit.
For those interested in many different aspects of the medical field, the role of medical administrative assistant is often the perfect fit. If you're unsure as to where, exactly, your interests lie–just remember, there are options.
For example, you could look into training for Medical Office and Billing Specialist, Medical Billing and Coding, or Medical Assistant—depending on your interest in direct patient care and billing duties.
To get a better idea of the exact role you're looking for, you can seek opportunities such as externships and work shadowing. Plus, as you learn more through schooling and training, you'll come to better understand your chosen role and how it fits with your interests and skillset.
Am I Ready to be a Medical Administrative Assistant?
If you've thought of pursuing a career in the medical field, but you weren't sure you could commit to the length of time it takes to complete most medical programs, a career as a medical administrative assistant may work for you.
While the role falls under the administrative side of medical operations, it still gives you opportunities to interact with patients.
You'll also be able to support doctors and nurses from an administrative perspective and provide customer service. As a medical administrative assistant, you'll need to be flexible and quick-thinking.
The role can be important, dynamic, and exciting.
If that all sounds great to you, then get ready to begin pursuing a career as a medical administrative assistant!
Can I Get Started Now?
Medical administrative assistants are an important part of any medical practice. By pursuing a career in the field, you can help healthcare providers and patients.
Check out our page to begin the process of starting your education in Medical Administrative Assistant at Ultimate Medical Academy.