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Medical Assisting Grads Cover all the Bases

In the fast-paced world of healthcare, the ability to handle multiple responsibilities is vital for just about every employee. Graduates of our Medical Assisting degree program gain the type of first-hand knowledge that make them indispensable to doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals and other areas within the field.

Often job titles or responsibilities are broad because most professionals in this field provide a broad spectrum of services to their employer, including various administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare facilities.

This includes manning the front desk and being the first friendly face a patient or their family may see. Many times this is the type of work handled by someone who completed a program like the Medical Administrative Assistant program at Bryant & Stratton Collge. The front-end administrative tasks fit the courses those students take quite well. However, a trend is growing where medical facilities are seeking candidates who can also offer clinical support. Something that graduates of the Medical Assisting degree can offer. Individuals in that position shift to handle clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, recording a patient’s history, giving injections and assisting in medical procedures.

This varied list of responsibilities means the medical assistant may be the first person a patient speaks with when they arrive, meaning the role is an important one. 

“You help represent the facility and the provider you work for through your communication with patients, friendliness and skill. Often, patient satisfaction surveys are sent out specifically asking the patient to rate the Medical Assistant or Nurse,” said Jessica Bland, a Bryant & Stratton College instructor and supportive care nurse practitioner.

Those patient ratings can impact the providers overall scores, and ultimately the financial reimbursements received by the medical facility.

“It is important to recognize how important this role is and how this affects the physicians and health care providers you work for,” Bland said.

She added that medical assistants need to be extra diligent in their roles. They don’t just record a patient’s blood pressure. That reading could determine the course of the patient’s treatment.

“The vital signs that are taken and recorded are used by the provider to make important medical decisions regarding a patient’s care and medications,” Bland said. 

The Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) is typically completed in 24 months and includes more general education courses than the certificate program. Many associate programs include internship opportunities. Students who hold this degree may be eligible for higher salaries as well as be considered better candidates for specialty areas.

Students looking for a career that will remain in high demand have found one in medical assisting. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bland said, projects the demand for workers in the field to grow 29 percent by 2026. An aging population means more business for medical offices. The median annual wage for medical assistants was $32,480 as of May 2017.

Students should keep in mind that some states require passing an exam to become a Certified Medical Assistant, or CMA. In order to do so, the program completed must be accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Becoming a CMA typically is required for an entry level position and may offer a slight bump in pay over being uncertified, Bland said.

 


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