Certified Medical Assistant Careers


Medical assisting is one of the many allied health professions in the market. A certified medical assistant (CME) is able to perform many duties which may include various administrative or clerical tasks. These tasks are meant to provide a secondary and supporting role to senior physicians and practitioners. A medical assistant may also interact with patients in order to facilitate them with their treatment or diagnosis. Generally, the larger the medical setup, the greater and widespread will be the duties of a medical assistant.

Many interested candidates can enter the industry as a certified medical assistant and learn about the various elements and concepts of medicine. By working under the supervision and guidance of senior physicians, a CME (certified medical assistant) can attempt to develop a career interest in a particular area of medicine. The initial exposure and experience gained by medical assistants is considered crucial in helping them advance into their careers.

Mostly medical assistants work under the close supervision of a senior physician. Common work environments include a physician’s office, a lab, hospital or any healthcare facility. Depending on the size of the office and patient traffic, you may have an extremely hectic yet intellectually stimulating experience with a lot of learning to absorb.

Job Duties

As already stated earlier, the larger the medical setup or office, the more expansive will be the duties of a certified medical assistant. Even though some job duties may seem trivial, they still add value to the entire setup. For your convenience and easy understanding, the general job duties that a typical medical assistant may encounter have been listed under two different categories.

Clinical Job Duties

  • Receive patient and have them settled in
  • Thoroughly take patient history and critical bio-data
  • Prepare patient for treatment or visit
  • Take patient blood and basic medical readings such as temperature, pulse etc.
  • Provide support to the senior physician while patient examination is being conducted
  • Accurately report patient progress and medication information to the supervising physician
  • Treat patients with basic injuries and conditions
  • Provide medicine and treatment to admitted patients and monitor their progress
  • Ensure the general hygiene and maintenance of various medical equipment and the operating area
  • Assist the patient by answering various queries and facilitating them throughout their stay

Administrative Duties

  • Welcome and escort patients into the hospital
  • Manage patients entering and exiting the system
  • Arrange and manage patient documentation, record keeping and receipts
  • Fill and file various forms
  • Maintain inventories of various medical equipment, medicine and pharmaceutical drugs
  • Schedule appointments and visits for patients
  • Handle official correspondence between patient and facility

The job duties listed above are just a general overview of what a medical assistant may expect during their career. Naturally all the aforementioned duties may not apply depending on the type of facility, its size and its scope of activity. But these duties should more or less give you a brief idea of what to expect and encounter once you enter the industry.

Career Outlook

This is a field of medicine which has always experienced global growth due to the sensitive living conditions for humans. Whether it is curative medicine or preventative medicine, demand for doctors, allied health professionals and medical officers will always be on the rise.

Furthermore, the number of medical facilities, clinics, hospitals and healthcare facilities has been steadily increasing to cater to nations, which means there will be new work opportunities for medical assistants. As a matter of fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected employment growth of medical assistants during the period of 2010 to 2020 is 31% which translates to roughly 162,900 jobs (bls.gov).

Salary Prospects

In 2010, the average annual salary for medical assistants was $28,860 which is about $13.87 per hour (bls.gov). As you gain valuable experience this figure is likely to increase.

Educational Requirements

At the very basic level, a high school diploma should be able to get you an entry level position as a medical assistant. However, some employers have set the bar higher and would prefer that the candidate is certified through a regulating body as that provides a minimum standard of excellence. Furthermore, some employers or institutes may give preference to candidates who have passed out through an accredited program for medical assistants.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs should give you some insight on such programs to explore. Furthermore, the American Association of Medical Assistants can provide vital information regarding testing, scheduling, eligibility, certification, requirements and so on.

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