All medical assistants are not created equal. They may have similar backgrounds and education requirements, but they each have different job duties to keep in mind. If you want to become a medical assistant in the near future, you may want to learn more about what your future job may entail.
Here are job descriptions for the different types of medical assistants.
Administrative medical assistants are responsible for the clerical side of medical assisting. They file paperwork, schedule appointments, organize files, and answer phone calls. They do not spend much time interacting with patients beyond the front counter of the office. With that in mind, some administrative medical assistants will also work as nursing assistants, which involves a more direct connection with the patients.
Clinical medical assistants most often work in clinics, but sometimes they work in hospitals, nursing homes, etc. In this line of work, you will handle both administrative tasks and patient-care tasks in the workforce. If you are certified to take down basic information like blood pressure readings, temperatures, and weight, you may be asked to do that to prepare patients to see the doctor. You may still work behind the counter answering calls and scheduling appointments, but chances are you will be in the office a lot more than that.
A registered medical assistant is someone who has taken the time to complete a registration exam for his or her state. Some states do not require an exam at all if someone has an associate’s degree in medical assisting. Others have a short but complex test that ensures you know what you are doing as a medical assistant.
Getting registered to work within your state will help you when it comes to getting a job. Your employers will know that you are knowledgeable, committed, and ready to go. If you want the best pay rates possible, you need to be a registered medical assistant.
A certified medical assistant is a lot like a registered medical assistant. This is someone who has completed a certification exam within his or her state to be a CMA. Unlike registration though, certification almost always requires a separate exam, not just a degree. You will need to contact your state’s medical assisting association to learn about the exam you will have to complete.
For the most part, you should be able to earn your certification easily if you pay attention in school. Some states will also allow you to take an exam after you have spent five years working as a medical assistant. Go through whatever it takes to secure your future, and you will do well as a medical assistant.