Friday, July 27, 2012

What Do Medical Administrative Assistants Do?

Ever wonder what all those people in the back-office of a doctor's office do? In this guest post by Nancy, find out all about who medical administrative assistants are. 

Essentials for a Career as Medical Administrative Assistant
If you are on the lookout for a career that promises job security and satisfaction, attractive compensation, and positive growth prospects, then your search is about to end!

Medical assistance or medical administrative assistance, ranked as one of the top healthcare jobs of 2012 by the U.S. News and World Report [1] offers all this and more. Belonging to the burgeoning allied healthcare industry, medical administrative assistants perform important supporting roles in hospitals, private practices and other healthcare facilities.

Here are some noteworthy facts about this profession:
  • Medical assistants held 527,600 jobs in the year 2010 [2] 
  • The median annual income of medical assistants in the same year was $28,860 per annum [3] 
  • The employment of medical assistants is projected to grow by 31% over the 2010-20 decade [4] 
If all this has made you even a little bit more curious about the profession than you were before, it may be worth your while to dig a little deeper into what medical assistance is all about. And to help you out, we present the absolute essentials for a career in medical assistance. 

Medical Administrative Assistance Training
If you have done some research about breaking into this field, you probably know that it does not have any educational prerequisites save a high school diploma or its equivalent. But that’s not something we’d advise aspirants to this profession.

As things stand in the current job market, post-secondary training has become essential for getting your foot in the door for most white collar jobs. So, look for medical administrative assistant training programs at career schools, community colleges or online vocational institutions.

Career training programs in medical assistance may take from a few months to a year’s time for completion. Typically, these programs include coursework in medical terminology, anatomy, healthcare reimbursement system, medical office procedures, typing skills and Microsoft Office training.

Medical Administrative Assistant Certification
Again, it’s not mandatory for medical assistants to be certified, but it’s a highly desirable credential to showcase your competency for the job to prospective employers. Four voluntary certifications are available to medical assistants who meet the eligibility criteria of the awarding organizations:

  1. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) 
  2. Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) 
  3. National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) 
  4. Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

Medical Administrative Assistant Skills
It’s all very well to complete a medical administrative assistant training program and get certified, but there are some basic qualities that one must develop to build a successful career in the field.

Since one of their primary responsibilities is to interact with patients who visit healthcare facilities, medical administrative assistants must be customer service oriented in their approach. It also helps to have a pleasing persona as they are the first point of contact for patients.

Medical administrative assistants are also expected to have analytic ability, attention to detail, as well as excellent time management and organizational skills.

You can consider taking some additional courses to develop the required skill set. For example, taking a course in Microsoft Office suite may make you more proficient and productive in your day-to-day work. Increasing your typing speed is another way to improve your efficiency in fulfilling your responsibilities as a medical administrative assistant.
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Ibid. 
Nancy is a 36-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Being an SAHM, Nancy is a huge exponent of vocational training programs that provide women like her the power to be their own boss.

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