Plan A Career In Medical Assisting

An experienced medical assistant has a flexible, satisfying career. The skills brought to the table by a properly trained health-related assistant are becoming more and more in demand, and employment is quickly available anywhere in the world.

Individuals trained in this particular field do not have a mandatory retirement age. A lot of medical assistants follow their careers far beyond the usual retirement age, because physicians comprehend the added value of an experienced, mature staff member. This career appeals to the non-traditional student whom may be more than the average postsecondary student by a several years or more. Although some older students experience a degree of intimidation in the classroom, they ordinarily have excellent experiences in college and become leaders in their school.

However, this field is a bit more suitable for students just graduating high school, who may consider continuing his or her schooling and plans to make use of the medical assisting field to bring in a viable income. By furthering their studies, their income can dramatically increase, making the additional tuition a worthwhile investment.

The practice of medicine has changed dramatically in the past decade. Increasing clinic and lab charges have created the trend away from infirmary-based care and moved to the personal care in physicians’ offices and in hospital ambulatory clinics.

Though physicians have used medical assistants within their practices for many years, computerization and technologic developments have created many more opportunities for even the most basically trained medical personnel and their obligations have similarly elevated, along with their pay scale.

Clearly defined certification requirements have been driven by a couple of the nation’s largest certification organizations. These kinds of requirements have triggered improvement of the high quality and local accessibility regarding medical assistant instruction, and have created a healthy value for medical personnel, who are regarded a part of the necessary health care team.

Employment for health care assistants is ample. There were 329,000 jobs kept by medical assistants in the United States throughout 2000, and 60% of those have been in physicians’ offices, and 15% were in hospital wards. Career opportunities are plentiful in public health facilities, hospitals, labs, medical schools, investigation centers, voluntary health-care agencies, and health-care firms of all sorts. Jobs may also be found with state and federal agencies including the Department of Experts Affairs, the Oughout. S. Public Wellness Service, and in military clinics or private hospitals.

Internet Software Strategy For Patient Relationship Management and Electronic Medical Billing

Patients increasingly use Internet to research, locate, receive, validate, and complain about doctor’s services. Although most health care providers (79%) had cautioned patients about the unreliability of health information on the Internet, 80% of adult Internet users have searched for health or medical information online. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Medical Broadcasting Company and Nielsen/NetRatings, two out of three Americans turn to the Internet before their doctor visits to research their condition and prepare questions. After their visits, these patients typically do more Internet research to validate what their doctor told them and find answers to questions they didn’t think to ask.

Multiple surveys show that practices with personal IT services have significant competitive advantage in terms of patient perception. For instance, 75% of U.S. adults would like to schedule their doctor visits via the Internet and receive e-mail reminders. But so few practices offer such services that only 4% of patients use Internet to schedule appointments. Moreover, while 67% of patients would like to receive their lab results via e-mail, only 2% currently do. Such large differences between expected and delivered levels of information access must transform into significant differences in service value perception. It behooves the doctors to adopt Internet technology to help patients search for health information online and use it for patient relationship management and practice development.

The first step in achieving this goal is to establish website presence. A typical physician’s website might have the following content components:

  • About Practice
    1. Mission statement – patient-care philosophy
    2. A short history of the practice
    3. Office hours
    4. Contact information
    5. Phone numbers
    6. eMail addresses
    7. Location and driving directions
  • About Physicians
    1. Credentials and specialization information about each physician
    2. Hospital affiliations
  • Patient Corner
    1. Links to patient education materials
    2. Patient forms
    3. Appointment scheduling
    4. Pre-registration
    5. eMail correspondence with physicians
    6. Lab results
    7. Electronic prescription refills
    8. Home monitoring device configuration
    9. Automated health alerts
    10. Personal health records
  • Electronic Medical Billing
    1. A list of accepted insurance plans
    2. FAQ on Billing, e.g., explanation of statement
    3. Account balance
    4. Payment history

    A savings-based ROI justification for office automation using a cost-driven metric compares operations costs before and after implementing a technical solution. For instance, the national average for staff in a primary-care practice is about five employees per physician. Anecdotal evidence about practices with patient-focused website with integrated EMR shows less than 2.5 employees per physician. Yet technology benefits to the practice have evolved from simple automation, to paperless office infrastructure, to patient attraction, to patient retention and loyalty management. Once the patients learn to expect a patient-focused website with integrated EMR along with interactive Patient Corner, they begin correlating physician’s expertise with the degree of office automation and Internet accessibility. It’s time to replace the cost-driven metric with a revenue-based metric, which measures billing revenue per physician and refocuses the management from savings to profits. Perhaps the greatest impact of technology is still ahead of us, in the area of patient relationship management and profitable practice development.


    American Heart Association, “Survey Results: Online Education Program Is Effective Source Of Information For Heart Patients,” MediLexicon, May 12, 2007

    Joseph A Diaz, et al, “BRIEF REPORT: What Types of Internet Guidance Do Patients Want from Their Physicians?,” J Gen Intern Med. 2005 August; 20(8): 683-685.

    David Kesmodel, “As Angry Patients Vent Online, Doctors Sue to Silence Them,” The Wall Street Journal Online, September 14, 2005

    Elaine Zablocki, “Communication: If You Build It …How a top-notch Web site can help expand and enhance your services,” Physicians Practice, May 2007

    Allied Health Salary Range

    If you are considering a degree in one of the allied health fields, first you should consider the salary range for your chosen profession. There are many jobs to choose from, which all have different requirements for schooling and different expected salaries once you have completed your program. There are two types of allied health professionals: technicians or assistants, and therapists or technologists. The salary range for most common allied health careers will depend on which category you fit into, and other factors such as location and experience.

    If you go to school for a job as a technician or assistant, you will probably be able to get your degree in two years or less. Some programs can even be completed in a year or less. These jobs include medical laboratory technicians, occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants, radiological technicians, recreation therapy assistants, and respiratory therapy technicians. The following salaries are starting salaries for the most common technician and assistant jobs, meaning this is what you will likely make straight of school:

    1. Clinical Lab / Medical Lab Technician: $37,100
    2. Dental Assistant: $32,198
    3. Dental Lab Technician: $31,780
    4. Health Information Technician: $30,000
    5. Medical Assistant: $22,650
    6. Occupational Therapy Assistant: $33,000
    7. Ophthalmic Dispensing Optician: $27,000
    8. Ophthalmic Technician: $39,000
    9. Pharmacy Technician: $19,000
    10. Phlebotomist: $24,315
    11. Physical Therapist Assistant: $30,000
    12. Radiographer: $36,918
    13. Respiratory Therapist: $41,537

    Allied health therapists and technologists must go through more intensive schooling programs including specific procedural, treatment, and diagnosis skills before they can get their degree, so they will make a little bit more. Many of these careers require at least a bachelor’s degree. Here are the starting salaries for the most common therapist and technologist jobs:

    1. Anesthesiologist Assistant: $95,000
    2. Blood Bank Technology Specialist: $45,000
    3. Cytotechnologist: $46,000
    4. Cytotechnology Supervisor: $48,000
    5. Dietician / Nutritionist: $35,300
    6. Health Information Administrator: $40,000
    7. Magnetic Resonance Technologist: $44,410
    8. Medical Librarian: $41,000
    9. Nuclear Medicine Technologist: $67,429
    10. Occupational Therapist: $46,000
    11. Pathologist’s Assistant: $55,000
    12. Physical Therapist: $54,000
    13. Physicians Assistant: $71,000
    14. Radiation Therapist: $65,381
    15. Speech Language Pathologist: $52,694

    What Most People Don’t Know About Medical Assisting

    Many people think that medical assistants just manage the front office, but that’s only a fraction of what medical assistants do.

    Medical Assistants are trained in both administrative and clinical procedures of a health care facility. Due to their training in pharmacology, laboratory procedures, medical law, patient care, and the health sciences, Medical Assistants are capable of filling a diverse range of roles in a health care facility.

    Obviously, the duties of a medical assistant will vary at each health care facility, but here are some of the common clinical and administrative duties practiced by Medical Assistants:


    Every state had different rules on what a Medical Assistant can do. The following list will give you a snapshot of some procedures you could perform as a Medical Assistant:

    • Take medical histories
    • Prepare patients for examination
    • Assist the Doctor during examination
    • Explain medical procedures
    • Administer medications
    • Draw blood
    • Remove stitches
    • Perform basic lab tests
    • Authorize drug refills (as directed by doctor)
    • Take EKGs
    • Record vital signs

    This is an extensive list, but it shows the wide variety of training you may receive in the medical assisting program you join. Your training will depend, of course, on state regulations and the quality of the medical assisting school.

    As you can imagine, the role of a medical assistant often means you’ll be working alongside doctors and other medical professionals daily. This career field means you should be flexible and can easily move between different tasks. One moment you could be helping a doctor with basic lab tests, and the next moment you could be explaining a medical procedure to a patient.

    This wide range of clinical duties shows the extensive training you’ll need to join this thriving career field. It might seem overwhelming at first, but realize that each task may or may not be assigned to you. It depends on the medical office and state laws that determine how many of these procedures you can do.

    Along with clinical duties, Medical Assistants also often take care of the medical office administration too.


    Medical Assistants need to be flexible, so they must often shift from a medical procedure to an administrative role quickly. As administrators within a medical office, they must be trained for the following duties:

    • Updating patient’s records
    • Working with insurance companies
    • Scheduling appointments
    • Ordering lab services
    • Bookkeeping
    • Medical Billing
    • Hospital Admissions

    These administrative duties will often require some knowledge of computer programs. Bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, and corresponding with insurance companies will sometimes require a basic knowledge of computer programs. The knowledge you’ll need to perform these computer tasks can be learned either through a medical assisting school or learned on the job.

    Since every doctor’s office is different, specific knowledge on computer programs will probably get taught within that medical office. And it’s very possible that you may join a medical office where many of these duties are handled without the help of a computer.

    Not all medical assistants will work in administrative roles, so don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable working with computers. You can be a medical assistant that focuses only in clinical duties. You’ll just have more opportunity for advancement if you decide to take on more administrative responsibilities. You’ll also become higher valued to your employer.


    Medical Assistants can work in a variety of health care settings. In fact, many medical assisting schools already have relationships with local employers eager to hire their graduate.

    Upon graduation, medical assistants can choose to work in:

    • Medical offices
    • Clinics
    • Hospitals
    • Urgent care centers
    • Nursing homes
    • Medical supply businesses
    • Home health agencies
    • Insurance providers
    • pharmaceutical companies

    And that’s just a small list of possible employers. Once you choose a medical assisting school, your career placement office will provide you with a network of different employers for you to submit resumes to.

    Due to a medical assistant’s extensive training and education, they are practically suited to work within any type of health care facility. And it’s during your job hunt that you can specify a career focused more on the administrative or clinical duties