21 Incredible Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant
It’s common for children to say they want to be a doctor or surgeon when they grow up. Most people, however, are dissuaded from starting medical school due to high fees and long training periods. There are many other affordable job paths to consider, especially in the allied healthcare sector.
If you’re looking to start your career in the healthcare sector, why not consider getting your medical assistant certification? With quick training periods, lucrative salaries, dependable job growth, and fast-paced working environments, medical assistant training is an excellent route for people who are fresh to healthcare or who already have hands-on experience.
What does a medical assistant do and how can you become one? Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and much more!
1.Get into the Job Market Fast
Between an undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency, it can take surgeons more than 15 years to obtain their full license. Most medical assistant courses, on the other hand, take less than a year before you’re allowed to work in a professional setting.
While there are no formal requirements to work as a medical assistant, most employers prefer applicants to be certified medical assistants. Completing a certified medical assistant program or associate degree is often a necessity to get hired.
2. This Is a Career That Makes a Difference
Well-trained and professional medical assistants make a huge difference in a patient’s hospital or clinic experience. From administering medicine to helping patients navigate complex insurance policies to prepping patients for examinations, many professional medical assistants find their work incredibly rewarding.
MAs often mention their wide range of patient-facing responsibilities as a reason why they’re proud to be part of this field.
3. Training Options Are Flexible…
Multiple options for certified medical assistant programs exist throughout the country. You can attend a community college or a technical school and – in many cases – you’ll be able to fit classes around your schedule. This offers many students the opportunities to raise their family, hold a job, or attend extra classes while completing their medical assistant training.
4…. and Won’t Break the Bank
Unlike costly university programs, medical assistant students aren’t required to take out tens of thousands of dollars to get through their training courses.
No matter whether you opt for an MA certificate program (which usually takes around 9 to 12 months) or a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree, you’ll be paying substantially less than what a 4-year (or medical) degree would cost.
5. Learn with Exciting and Applicable Classes
MAs are allied healthcare professionals who straddle the line between administration and treatment. During medical assistant training, students might study physiology, patient care, sterilization techniques, and basic pharmacology. But classroom lessons on administrative tasks (e.g. insurance, medical billing and coding) are equally important.
6. Continue Your Education Later on
For students who choose to pursue a two-year associate degree program, they’ll be required to complete general education courses. While they may seem unnecessary for a quick entry into the medical industry, it’s a practical option for anyone contemplating continuing their education in the future.
If – after several years of working – you end up enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program, some of these associate degree credits can be transferred instead of starting from scratch.
7. There Isn’t One Standard Working Day
The medical assistant job description is so varied that it’s impossible for your shifts to be boring! Medical assistants are trained to do a wide range of duties and are required to step in where they’re needed the most.
On any given day, you could be speaking with an insurance agency, drawing blood, managing the front desk, or helping take patient’s vital signs. The job itself teaches you a valuable set of soft skills, including flexibility, analytical thinking, and the ability to work effectively within a team.
8. Varied Working Environments
Some people like the fast pace of a surgical ward, general medical hospital, or trauma center. Others may prefer the quieter vibe of a private physician’s office. Smaller practices tend to rely on their medical assistants to handle both administrative and clinical duties, while MAs at larger practices and hospitals tend to focus on one or the other.
Outpatient care centers, community health clinics, dental practices, and assisted living facilities also require medical assistants to provide quality care. Whichever you choose, if you’re a desirable candidate, you’ll have the flexibility of choosing one that best fits your personality.
9. Flexibility in Choosing Specializations
Future MAs will be happy to learn that they can choose specializations as their career progresses – don’t worry about settling on one immediately!
According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), 62% of medical assistants work in primary care (the day-to-day healthcare given by a health care provider). Around half of certified medical assistants also work in a single-specialty practice.
10. A Great Launchpad into the Medical Industry
In the medical world, experimenting with different career paths is a high-stakes game. Training as a nurse or a doctor takes incredible time and effort, and it’s not unheard of for these medical professionals to later discover that their chosen field wasn’t the best fit.
Why not start with a job that allows you to experience a wide range of aspects within healthcare? Medical assistants have got an unbelievable vantage point, and are able to quickly learn whether patient care or medical administration is more their speed. Many go back to school to gain their nursing degree or become a certified medical biller.
If you’re ready for more responsibility, many medical assistants move onto careers like sonography, nursing, and hospital management.
11. Count on Solid Medical Assistant Salaries
For a career that doesn’t require a 4-year degree (and serious student debt), these allied healthcare professionals have great income opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a medical assistant was $32,480 in 2018.
Keep in mind that some states (like Alaska, Washington DC, and Minnesota) pay far more than $40,000 per year. As with any career, your income comes down to credentials and location.
Either way, medical assistants are some of the best-paid allied healthcare professionals out there.
12. Training Others Can Be Part of Your Future
With a growing demand for trained medical assistants, there’s also an increased demand for the professionals who train them. If you enjoy interacting with people, this may be a great option after you build your skill sets.
AAMA reports that, on average, educators make well over $50,000 per year, with the most experienced professionals in the field earning over $75,000.
13. Lots of Job Vacancies
Job vacancies for medical assistants are opening fast. In fact, demand (calculated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics) will grow 23% between 2014 and 2024. This is faster than the national average for all other occupations over the same period, which averages 7%. Nearly 140,000 new medical assistants will be needed to fill up the new positions expected to appear by 2024.
14. Health Insurance? Check.
A 2016 survey revealed that most medical assistants received medical insurance through their employers.
Of the 8,200 professionals who responded, more than 75% said they had received major medical coverage, 69% received vision coverage, and 78% had dental coverage.
Additionally, if you’re a full-time medical assistant trainer, you’re more likely to receive greater major coverage, including medical, dental, discount prescription, and more.
15. You’re Not Tied to One Location…
Unlike physicians who need to obtain a license to practice in a new state, medical assistants are able to move across the country with great flexibility. As mentioned above, pay varies greatly from state to state, so be sure to consult governmental websites (like BLS.gov) before making any life-changing moves!
16. …or Even a New Country
Demand for qualified medical assistants is high not only in the US: Australia also has plenty of medical assistant job vacancies. Why not try the expat lifestyle in places like Singapore, Malaysia, or Dubai?
17. You Can Do the 9-to-5 (if You Want)
For the majority of healthcare workers, enjoying the same time off as your friends and family isn’t possible. Working night shifts or long hours is a way of life for many doctors, nurses, and emergency services workers.
If you aren’t comfortable with late shift work or find (later in life) that your priorities have shifted, it’s still possible to practice the job that you love within the framework of a more conventional working routine. You may have to reconsider employment at busy hospitals, and instead focus on working at a smaller clinic or doctor’s office.
18. Enjoy Your Social Life
Many medical assistants who find jobs in smaller practices have work routines similar to that of office workers. Create a stronger life-work balance and avoid burning out by spending weekends and public holidays with friends and family.
19. And Speaking of Stress….
Studies show that US doctors report high levels of stress due to their demanding jobs. Shockingly, as many as one in two experienced burnout symptoms within the previous year. Nurses are also highly stressed due to being understaffed and overworked.
While medical assistant job duties involve quite a lot of responsibility and aren’t completely free of stress, these allied healthcare workers have far less on their shoulders. Due to MA’s wide range of training, they may be asked to help doctors and nurses with a variety of tasks, thus relieving some of the burdens.
20. Get Your Hands on New Tech
With the medical field rapidly changing due to constant developments in new technologies (from data storage to new monitoring tools, treatments, and artificial intelligence), technology is set to have a major impact on the way healthcare is administered.
As a medical assistant, you’ll play a key role in using these technologies in innovative ways to deliver more precise and personalized care.
21. You’ll Become a Stronger Team Member
Whether doctors, hospital administrators, or patients, being a great medical assistant means that you’re a solid and proactive communicator.
If you’re a people person, this job will provide the stimulation you require. For the more introverted, don’t be put off: Good communication skills can be learned with experience. This skill is sure to translate to all parts of your life.
Get Started with a Certified Medical Assistant Program Today
Interested in becoming a medical assistant (or still have questions about becoming one)? Learn everything that’s required to kickstart your future career.