The idea of a career where you’re helping people is appealing to many folks. Being a medical assistant is a great way to positively impact the lives of others, while being on a purposeful career path.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical assistants is expected to rise by almost 30% over the next decade. Healthcare is rapidly growing field in the US, partially due to a large aging population.
If you want to help others and have a calling to serve, here’s why becoming a Certified Medical Assistant may be a great opportunity for you:
Why medical assisting is a rewarding career choice
Your skills as a medical assistant will always be in demand. In addition, you will:
- Do purposeful work in the world
- Be a critical asset to a healthcare team
- Positively affect others’ lives daily
- Be an integral part of hands-on patient care
- Earn a consistent income
- Receive medical and other employer benefits
- Enjoy job security
- Have many options for employment
The versatility of a medical assistant’s skill set can introduce you to other interesting careers in healthcare. Once you’ve worked as a CMA for several years, there may be possibilities to expand into other jobs within the healthcare industry.
Western Washington Medical Group is always looking for Certified Medical Assistants to serve our clinics throughout the Puget Sound area. See our current job openings for MAs.
An overview of medical assisting
Medical assistants work in healthcare clinics, doctor’s offices, outpatient care centers, and hospitals. They perform a variety of clinical, technical, and administrative tasks, as well as actively support the care of patients on a daily basis.
MAs are essential to clinic operations and providing great patient care. There is currently a national shortage of MAs, so job opportunities are plenty for this essential healthcare role.
An MA education program can take between 8 months and 2 years to complete, depending on the track and certification type. The average annual salary for a medical assistant in Washington State is $41,340 plus health insurance and other employer-provided benefits. Average salary for MAs varies across the nation by location, employer type, and by the level of MA certification.
Qualities that make a great medical assistant
Like most providers in the healthcare community, a medical assistant finds fulfillment by doing work that helps others. Qualities that make a great medical assistant include: adaptability, reliability, ethical, organized, flexible, detail-oriented, skilled at time management, and great customer service and people skills.
At times you’ll be working with sensitive patient information — patient health records that are guided by federal HIPAA privacy laws— and it’s important that your work ethic and care reflects respect for those guidelines.
Duties of a medical assistant
As a medical assistant, you’ll support healthcare providers – such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants – with patient care, and will also be responsible for clinical, technical, and administrative tasks to help the patient visits and clinic operations run smoothly.
MA job duties include:
- Recording patient health information
- Taking patients vitals
- Assisting with exams and in-office procedures
- Administering immunizations
- Collecting lab specimens
- Sending patient samples to testing facilities
- Administering medications
- Providing patient education
- Administrative tasks such as updating records, organizing paperwork, scheduling, etc.
- Providing customer service to patients
A medical assistant is a versatile, critically important part of a hospital or clinic’s staff, which further explains why they are in high demand.
Educational path for medical assistants
To enter MA school, you’ll commonly need a high school diploma or GED, basic computer skills, and CPR certification.
There are multiple educational paths to become a medical assistant, such as community college or vocational school. Training can last anywhere from 8 months to 2 years and vary in cost depending on the program.
After any of the above educational paths, you can take a test to become a Certified Medical Assistant in Washington State. You may also take a national exam that allows you to practice as a CMA in any state.
Whichever track you pursue, after graduation you’ll need to be licensed with the Washington State Department of Health to be able to practice as Medical Assistant in a healthcare facility in Washington.
Being an MA is a rewarding career
The career of a medical assistant is rewarding in many ways. In addition to working directly with patients, supporting providers and successful clinic operations, medical assisting is a job that has true purpose and makes a positive impact on the quality of others’ lives every single day.
Western Washington Medical Group is always looking for great CMAs to serve our clinics throughout the Puget Sound area. See our current job openings for MAs and apply to become part of our team!