When you consider careers in the medical field, the first positions that likely come to mind are doctors and nurses. These careers, after all, require the most schooling and often take center stage when patients visit clinics, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and private practices.
What you may not realize, though, is that medical assistants often also play a critical role in these environments, and it’s not just because they help patients (which they do). Medical assistants are trained to perform both front and back-office tasks that help ensure these operations run smoothly, and patients receive top-notch services, treatments, assistance, and information.
And, since becoming a medical assistant requires less training than those who seek physician or nursing positions, it’s often more within reach for those who aspire to earn a career helping people within the healthcare realm. It’s a great place to start what can become a long-term and successful career in the medical field.
To help you better understand why, below is a list of 10 reasons you, as someone who enjoys helping people live better and more comfortable lives, should consider a career as a medical assistant. But, before we get into all 10, we should first clarify what exactly a medical assistant is and what they do on a day-to-day basis.
That said, if you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, consider enrolling in UEI’s Medical Assistant Program. The program can be completed, and you can earn your diploma in as few as 10 months.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants work alongside physicians in private practices, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities for the benefit of patient services and care. As such, medical assistants are cross-trained to perform duties that are both administrative and clinical in nature.
The typical medical assistant’s day may include front-office work like answering phones, scheduling patient appointments, updating medical records, completing insurance forms, arranging labs and referrals, and general bookkeeping tasks within a clinical setting. Clinically, medical assistants may also escort patients to exam rooms, take vitals, assist during examinations, perform basic lab tests, and educate patients about treatments, medications, and other physician-directed recommendations.
In other words, medical assistants wear a lot of hats, and they work closely with nearly everyone on staff within a medical clinic or hospital unit: physicians, nurses, office managers, billing professionals, lab staff, and of course, patients.
10 Great Reasons You Should Become a Medical Assistant
So, whether you’ve long wanted to establish a career in the medical field or you simply love helping people and feel a career in healthcare may be right for you, we’re here to help. Here are 10 reasons why you may benefit from education and training to become a medical assistant in your community:
1. The Need for Medical Assistants is Growing
The healthcare world needs medical assistants, and that need appears to be continually growing even (or perhaps especially) during the current pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 18% by the year 2030, which is a much faster growth rate than most other occupations.
What does this mean? Well, the BLS projects the country will have an average of 104,400 job openings for medical assistants each year between now and 2030. They attribute this growth to the aging Baby Boomer population and the increased demand this will have for preventative medical services. This bodes well for those looking to enter the healthcare workforce as medical assistants.
2. Medical Assistant is an Accessible Position from which to Launch a Medical Career
Not everyone with aspirations to start a career in the medical field has a background, or educational history most would describe as “traditional.” Nor does everyone have the time or finances available to commit toward the type of education and training required to become a nurse or physician.
Fortunately, training to become a medical assistant (as we will discuss below) is generally a quicker and easier process, allowing you to place your foot in the door to gain career experience that could lead to greater opportunities in the healthcare field. And, because medical assistants perform a wide variety of tasks, they gain experience that can lead their careers in many different directions.
3. Medical Assistant Education & Training Takes Months, Not Years
Unlike doctors and nurses, who take years to become fully trained and job-ready in their fields, those interested in medical assistant careers can be trained and job-ready in a matter of months. For example, students who enroll in the Medical Assistant program at UEI College have the opportunity to complete their education, earn a diploma and receive hands-on training while also earning real-world experience in the field in as few as 10 months. Visit our program page for more information.
It should be noted that in a number of states, a formal education isn’t even required in order to become a medical assistant. However, few employers are likely to hire medical assistants with no prior education, training and/or experience on their resumes. Programs like the one offered at UEI have worked with prospective employers to establish a curriculum that provides students with the education, skills, and hands-on experience these employers are looking for.
4. Career in Medical Assisting Offers Great Daily Variety
As mentioned above, medical assistants juggle a lot of responsibilities each day which leads them to perform a variety of different tasks. One minute they may be greeting new patients and following up on insurance claim forms. The next day, they might take patient vitals, give injections, and answer patient questions about treatments, procedures, and course of care. This is to say, every day – every hour – is different from the last, making a career in medical assisting one that’s big on variety and small on monotony.
5. Medical Assisting Can Lead to Numerous Advancement Opportunities
While medical assistants are not required to be licensed and/or certified in most states, some employers may prefer to hire those who are. And, even if they don’t require such certifications, the opportunity to become certified – there are several certification options available (see below) – and help you stand out in a competitive job market while showing future employers that you’re serious about being an effective and successful medical assistant.
As for your certification options, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies has accredited five certifications for medical assistants. They are:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) through American Medical Technologists
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) through the National Center for Competency Testing
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), both through the National Health Career Association
6. Medical Assistants Can Work in a Variety of Healthcare Environments
The need for medical assistants within the healthcare community isn’t just limited to clinics and private practices. Medical assistants can be found working in hospitals, outpatient operations, residential care facilities, medical research centers, labs, and so on.
Medical assistants also have an opportunity to specialize in the type of patients and care they provide. Many can establish fulfilling careers working in clinics and facilities that specialize in such care as pediatrics, geriatrics, OB-GYN, chiropractic, psychiatric, cardiology, and so on.
7. Medical Assistants Can Work Almost Anywhere
Cities, rural areas, by the mountains, along the coast, back home where you grew up, near your favorite sports team … if people live there, there’s a need for healthcare services. And, where there are hospitals, medical clinics, private practices, and care facilities, you’ll usually find a need for medical assistants.
8. Schedules Can be Predictable & Consistent … If that’s What You Want
Those interested in seeking a medical assistant career and have worked in such industries as service, retail, customer service, etc., may enjoy the fact that discerning medical assistant professionals can often find career positions that offer predictable and consistent hours. It just depends on where you look for jobs.
For instance, if you earn a medical assisting career in a hospital or a residential care facility, it’s possible your hours may run the gamut of days, evenings, nights, and weekends. But, if you desire a career with more stable daytime and weekday hours, that’s possible, too. Many medical clinics and private practices operate based on such hours while also seeking medical assistants to help with clinic management and patient care.
9. Medical Assisting Makes a Difference in People’s Lives
We’ve established that medical assistants wear a lot of hats, but one of their most important roles is helping patients. Medical assistants serve as true patient advocates, from scheduling appointments and greeting them as they come for their appointments to explaining treatments and educating them about how to manage and improve their lives.
10. Medical Assistants Interact with All Kinds of People
Speaking of people, medical assistants have the opportunity to impact the lives of people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life. From children to the elderly, the capable to the disabled, the poor to the well-to-do, and so on, medical assistants become well-versed on the human condition, regardless of background. For some, this makes the job more fulfilling while contributing to even greater career growth. As such, a medical assisting career is ideal for those who like people and wish to make a difference in their lives.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant?
At UEI College, students in our Medical Assistant program can go from no experience to job-ready in the medical assisting field in as few as 10 months. Even those currently without high school diplomas have educational options. To learn more, contact the UEI College admissions department or stop by one of our campus locations!
Is it Hard to Become a Medical Assistant?
We’re not going to lie. Training to become a medical assistant can be challenging … just as it should be. After all, medical assistants are partially responsible for the health and safety of the patients they work with. However, with a goal-oriented mindset and a 10-month commitment to education and hands-on training at one of our UEI College locations, our team of experienced instructors from the medical field can guide and mentor you as you strive toward your career ambitions.
Once you’ve completed UEI’s Medical Assistant program and earned your diploma, our team is still there to help you realize your dream. For instance, our Career Services department stays in touch with potential local employers who regularly seek to hire medical assistants, and they pass these job leads along to students and graduates. They’ll even provide you with resume assistance and help you prepare for that first interview!
Consider Enrolling in UEI’s Medical Assistant Training Program
If you can relate to any (or all) of the 10 reasons we gave above to become a medical assistant, and you’re ready to make your first step toward establishing a new and potentially rewarding career in the field of healthcare, then reach out to our admissions team at UEI College.
Give us a call, reach out to us through our online form, or simply stop in one of our 19 campus locations for a tour. A representative from the school will be happy to answer your questions about the program, get you started on the application and enrollment process, and, if you qualify, begin looking into financial aid options!