Medical Assistants are in Big Demand

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The healthcare industry will see a great amount of growth in the next ten to fifteen years when the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age and transitions in to nursing care facilities. The baby boomer generation is considered to be one of America's largest generations ever. This is an explosive time for the health care industry. Medical assistants are one of the high growth jobs in the healthcare industry. If you are thinking about embarking on a new career, you might want to consider being a medical assistant. There is always a great need for medical assistants in hospitals, medical centers and clinics. The aging of America's largest generation is also pushing the need for additional medical assistants over the next several years

Medical assistants are responsible for administrative and clinical tasks. These assistants are responsible for keeping health care offices running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office. Some of the administrative duties performed by medical assistants include answering phones and scheduling appointments, updating and filing patient medical records, filling out insurance forms, and billing. There are also clinical duties to be performed by medical assistants. These duties can vary according to differences in state law. Some of the tasks performed medical assistants include taking vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, or assisting doctors with examinations. Medical assistants also collect specimens, administer medication as authorized by a physician and telephone prescriptions to pharmacies. They are also responsible for taking blood, changing sutures and dressing, and keeping examination rooms clean and tidy.

Medical assistants can move up in their careers by specializing in particular healthcare areas. There are also advancement opportunities by moving up to office manager. With additional certification and education, medical assistants can advance to other health care jobs such as nursing. Medical assistants with further formal training and current job experience are great candidates for career advancement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that medical assisting will be one of the fastest growing jobs on average through 2014. This is due to the increasing use of medical assistants across the healthcare industry. The earnings of medical assistants vary, depending on their experience, skill level, and location. Median annual earnings of medical assistants were $24,610 in May 2004.

Now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fast growing occupation. Healthcare employers prefer graduates of formal programs in medical assisting. Such programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Postsecondary programs usually last 1-year, resulting in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years, resulting in an associate degree. Course-work to become a medical assistant often includes physiology, anatomy and clinical and diagnostic procedures. Typing, transcription, claims processing and record keeping are also important parts of your medical assistant training. Courses on medical office procedures are also taught to give students basic training in medical law, ethics and patient relations.

*According to the bureau of labor statistics, health care provided 12.9 million jobs-12.5 million jobs for wage and salary workers and about 382,000 jobs for the self-employed. Of the 12.5 million wage and salary jobs, more than 40 percent were in hospitals; another 22 percent were in either nursing or residential care facilities; and almost 16 percent were in offices of physicians. About 92 percent of wage and salary jobs were in private industry; the rest were in State and local government hospitals. The majority of jobs for self-employed workers were in offices of physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners-about 265,000 out of the 382,000 total self-employed.

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