August 20, 2021

Upward Mobility: Medical Assistant Career Path

By B&SC Blog Team

Upward Mobility: Medical Assistant Career Path

As of 2021, many students continue to pursue a career in medical assisting. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there is still a high demand for medical assistants. If you’re shopping around for career options and becoming a medical assistant is one that has made your short list, you’ll probably want to know what the possibilities are in terms of upward mobility. Here we’ll look into that question, going over options available to you with a medical assisting degree, as well as important things to consider as you outline a potential medical assistant career path.

Clinical Medical Assistant vs. Medical Administrative Assistant

Knowing the difference between these two basic types of medical assistants is essential to any discussion about a medical assistant career path. Medical administrative assistants , also commonly called medical secretaries, do not provide hands-on care to patients. Their role in a medical office, clinic or facility is strictly an administrative/business one. Duties may include medical coding and billing, records management, medical transcription, and patient scheduling.

Clinical medical assistants are responsible for some direct patient care as well as office duties. Clinical duties may include measuring vital signs, assisting physicians with exams, removing stitches, drawing blood, changing dressings, and performing basic laboratory tests. Non-clinical duties typically include scheduling patient appointments, collecting patient health histories and personal information, and documenting patient information in standard (paper) and/or electronic health records.

Medical Assistant Career Path

1. Complete a Medical Assisting Program

By completing a Medical Assisting associate degree you will master both the clinical and administrative skills you’ll need to become a clinical medical assistant. You’ll spend time in the classroom and laboratory learning medical terminology, anatomy, biology, and more. If you are looking to become a non-clinical medical assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant associate degree program, which will focus on the administrative and business end of healthcare, is the way to go.

Earning your degree will give you the qualifications you need to get into the medical assisting field. Once you have begun to prove yourself, upward mobility can be had via a couple of different strategies.

2. Obtain advanced credentials through certifications

If you are looking for advancement opportunities as a medical assistant, some medical assistant certifications for clinical medical assisting include the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) designation, the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) designation, and the CCMA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) designation. Many employers require job candidates to hold one of these credentials to move beyond entry-level positions.

Administrative medical assistants can also open the door to more promising career opportunities by earning advanced credentials, such as CCMA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) or a passing a certification exam in medical coding and billing.

3. Gain Work Experience

Apply and land a medical assistant job in a healthcare facility, such as a physician’s office, and begin applying the concepts learned in your medical assistant training program. During this time, it is important to not only apply what you learned from your instructors but learn new concepts and take on leadership opportunities where applicable.

4. Choose a Specialization

This is another avenue graduates can take for advancing from entry-level work to more challenging medical career jobs.

Among the more challenging specialties for clinical medical assistants are podiatry, pediatrics, ophthalmology, cardiology and emergency medicine. Medical assistants who work in these specialties will require advanced clinical skills and knowledge. These may be obtained via additional training programs or courses that yield certifications/credentials for your chosen specialty, or some employers may offer on-the-job training for promising candidates.

Administrative medical assistants may require specialized training to develop expertise in administrative functions or technology specific to their chosen specialty.

Benefits of Earning Advanced Credentials

So what are the potential benefits in terms of advanced credentials and specialization in terms of advancement? Medical assistants who show initiative by earning those credentials and taking on more challenging work in specialty fields are more likely to be considered for positions of greater responsibility. The possibilities include medical career jobs like clinical team leader, clinical office manager, lead medical assistant, medical records manager, executive medical office secretary or medical office manager. These opportunities offer you the upward mobility you need to build a solid and satisfying career.

For more information on degrees and certificates offered at Bryant & Stratton College for upwardly mobile medical assistants, check out our healthcare degrees or contact the Admissions office at 1.888.273.2758.

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