Medical Assistant Job Description

Medical assistants perform basic clinical and administrative duties in the offices of different medical practitioners, including physicians, chiropractors and podiatrists. Their responsibilities vary depending on size of practice, specialty and location.

Typical Duties – Medical Assistant Job Description

• Scheduling patient appointments
• Helping physicians with patient examinations
• Taking patient history and recording their personal information
• Measuring vital signs
• Preparing blood for laboratory tests
• Injecting patients according to physicians’ directions

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While some medical assistants perform only specific tasks, they generally perform all these tasks. In large hospitals, different medical assistants are assigned different responsibilities. In addition, different state laws determine the clinical duties they can handle depending on their location.

Types of Medical Assistants

1. Clinical medical assistants may sterilize medical instruments, dispose of contaminated medical supplies and perform basic laboratory tests. They may also instruct patients on different things, including changing dressings, removing stitches and medication.

2. Administrative medical assistants generally schedule patient appointments, answer telephone calls and fill out patients’ medical information. They may also be involved in the purchase and storage of equipment and other supplies. They may work closely with laboratory services and hospital administrators.

3. Podiatric medical assistants may expose and develop x-rays, help podiatrists during surgery and make feet castings.

4. Optometric and ophthalmic medical assistants help these respective specialists in providing eye care, including showing patients how to care for and use contact lenses.


medical assistant job description

Work Environment

Most medical assistants work in physicians’ offices on a full-time basis. They usually work forty hours a week, but some cover shifts on weekends or in the evenings in medical facilities that operate round the clock.


Medical Assistant Job Description – Medical assistants usually have postsecondary education although a few start with a high school diploma and train on the job. Many states do not have formal educational requirements, but a few states require applicants to pass relevant exams or take accredited programs to perform some tasks like giving injections and taking x-rays.

Those interested in pursuing this career should study biology, anatomy and chemistry in high school. In addition, employers prefer those who have taken relevant postsecondary studies. The courses are available from universities, technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges. They usually take about a year to complete although some junior and community colleges offer 2-year programs leading to associate’s degrees. Lessons are performed in both classrooms and laboratories, and the students study physiology, anatomy, medical terminology and medical ethics. They learn clinical procedures, laboratory techniques and relevant computer skills.

It is also important for medical assistants to learn using electronic health records that physicians are increasingly adopting. Although certification is not mandatory, being certified opens up more job opportunities. Different organizations like the American Medical Technologists and American Association of Medical Assistants offer certification after either graduating from an accredited program or passing an exam. Applicants must be 18 years old or more to receive certification.

Important Qualities

• Detail oriented

• Analytical skills

• Interpersonal skills

• Technical skills

Pay Scale

With Medical Assistant Job Description mentioned above you can earn a median annual wage of $28,250, with the lowest 10% earning $20,919 and the highest 10% earning $37,540. The hourly rate earnings are between $10.00 and $17.42, with overtime being paid as much as $25.33.

Job Prospects

In 2012, there were 560,800 employed medical assistants, and the projected growth between 2012 and 2022 is 29%, which is faster than the average growth for all occupations. As the baby-boom population ages, there will be more demand for preventative medical services that physicians provide, which will in turn provide more opportunities for medical assistants. Federal health legislation also increases the number of patients accessing health insurance.

Certified medical assistants have better job prospects.

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