If you’re interested in working in health care and you enjoy meeting people and helping solve problems, a career as a medical assistant may suit you perfectly. In 2014, medical assistants in the United States held more than 591,000 jobs, typically in hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics and other medical facilities.
With the country’s baby boomer population aging, the job outlook for Medical Assistants remains strong and is projected to grow by 23 percent between 2014 and 2024, a growth rate that is significantly higher than average for all types of jobs. As doctors expand their practices to meet increased demand from an aging population, they will bring more medical assistants on board to take responsibility for both clinical and administrative duties.
Types of positions for Medical Assistants
If you’re wondering what to do with a medical assistant degree, you should know that a number of options exist in several categories:
- Administrative medical assistants help with managing patient records and scheduling appointments, and they sometimes assist with billing and record-keeping.
- Clinical medical assistants work directly with patients, including preparing for examinations, measuring and recording vital signs, providing treatment instructions and assisting other medical professionals during examinations. In some cases, clinical medical assistants perform minor medical procedures, including drawing blood and changing dressings.
- Specialized medical assistants often perform many of the same duties as clinical medical assistants but work in specialized fields, such as optometry or podiatry, for an insurer or for a private company.
As you consider what to do with a medical assistant degree, think about your unique personality and whether you’d enjoy working directly with patients or spending more time in an office setting.
What is the salary for a Medical Assistant?
In 2013, the median salary for a medical assistant was $29,610, a slight increase over the prior year. The top 10 percent of medical assistants made nearly $42,000 annually, with personal care services and insurance carriers paying the most.
Medical assistants typically work approximately 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, but schedules can vary depending on the specific type and location of work you choose. In hospitals or medical offices that are open late or on weekends, you may work nontraditional shifts.
Get the right education for a Medical Assistant career
To learn more about what to do with a medical assistant degree, consider pursuing a diploma program in the field. You’ll find that an education as a medical assistant thoroughly prepares you for both administrative and clinical tasks so you can get the most from this growing, challenging and highly rewarding career.