Can Medical Assistants Give Medications?


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Medical assistants do not have the same training as nurses or doctors, but they still play a vital role in a healthcare facility. Medical assistants are trained to not only help with front office tasks like scheduling, answering office correspondence, ordering supplies, and handling some billing functions but they also are trained to help with some clinical tasks as well.


With medical assistants performing so many roles around the office, it can be confusing trying to determine what is and is not within a medical assistant’s scope of practice. In particular, you may be curious if medical assistants can give medications. Under the supervision of a doctor, you may be surprised at all the tasks medical assistants are capable of performing.


Before we dive into whether Medical Assistants can give medications, if you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, you should consider enrolling in UEI College's Medical Assisting Program! The Medical Assistant Program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Medical Assistant Diploma in as few as 10 Months!

Can Medical Assistants Give Patients Medications?

Yes, medical assistants can give patients medications as long as they have been approved by a physician and the medical assistant is working under the supervision of a physician or nurse practitioner. Additionally, medical assistants can prepare medications, and explain medication instructions to patients. Injecting medications, on the other hand, is often reserved for licensed professionals such as nurses and physicians. 

Can Medical Assistant Prescribe Medication?

No, medical assistants do not have the authority to prescribe medications.


Diagnosing conditionings and prescribing medications are reserved for physicians, physician assistants (PA), and nurse practitioners (NP). These trained professionals are the ones to diagnose issues and create a treatment plan for the patient.


The medical assistant may help by assisting with the exam, taking notes as requested by the doctor, and updating records. Medical assistants may also send a doctor’s prescription orders to the pharmacy or call the pharmacy to refill medications as long as there are no changes to the treatment plan. Medical assistants may also give patients directions for carrying out their treatment at home and when to follow up with the doctor.

What Can Medical Assistants Do?

In California, medical assistants work under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional, such as a physician or nurse practitioner. The specific tasks and responsibilities of medical assistants can vary based on factors such as their level of training, experience, and the policies of the healthcare facility they work in.


Here are some common tasks that medical assistants in California may perform:

  1. Rooming patients: Medical assistants often greet patients, take their vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, pulse, temperature), and record their medical history or chief complaints.
  2. Assisting with examinations: Medical assistants may assist healthcare providers during physical examinations by preparing equipment, collecting and preparing specimens, and providing support to patients.
  3. Administering medications: While medical assistants generally cannot independently administer medications or injections in California, they may assist in medication-related tasks, such as preparing medications and organizing them for the healthcare provider.
  4. Performing basic laboratory tests: Medical assistants may collect and process laboratory specimens, such as blood or urine samples, and perform basic tests, such as point-of-care testing or electrocardiograms (EKGs).
  5. Taking patient medical histories: Medical assistants often interview patients to gather information about their medical history, current symptoms, and medication use. This information is then documented for the healthcare provider.
  6. Assisting with minor procedures: Medical assistants may help with minor procedures, such as wound dressing changes, suture removal, or applying bandages or splints under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
  7. Managing administrative tasks: Medical assistants may handle administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, billing and coding, and communicating with insurance providers.

What Can't Medical Assistants Do?

Medical assistants are useful all over the office, but there are several things they are not allowed to do. These include:

  • Diagnosing patients
  • Prescribing medications
  • Developing a treatment plan
  • Giving medications through an IV
  • Perform any exam or physical therapy (though they may be in the room to assist the physician)


The role of a medical assistant is to ensure the physician has what they need to be able to do their work and to ensure the patient’s needs are being met in the best way possible.

Consider Becoming a Medical Assistant With UEI College

If you are considering a career as a medical assistant, enrolling in UEI College's Medical Assistant training program can be a rewarding step toward achieving your professional goals. With comprehensive coursework and hands-on training, UEI College equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the field of healthcare.

UEI College's Medical Assistant program offers a well-rounded curriculum that covers essential topics such as patient care, medical office procedures, medical terminology, pharmacology, and clinical skills. The program is designed to provide a strong foundation and practical experience that prepares students for entry-level positions in various healthcare settings.

By enrolling in UEI College's program, you will have the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors who are committed to your success. The program combines classroom instruction with practical training in simulated labs and real-world externships, allowing you to apply what you've learned in a supportive and immersive environment.

Moreover, UEI College's career services team provides guidance and support in resume building, job search strategies, and interview preparation, helping you transition smoothly into the workforce.

Investing in your education at UEI College can open doors to a fulfilling career as a medical assistant. Take the first step today and enroll in UEI College's Medical Assistant Program to embark on an exciting journey towards a rewarding and in-demand profession in the healthcare field.