Medical assistants are healthcare professionals that assist doctors in clinics, doctor’s offices and hospitals.
They perform administrative tasks and clinical duties.
Some of their administrative duties include scheduling and making appointments, filing and updating medical records, dealing with insurance and forms, making arrangements for laboratory tests, billing and booking.
Medical assistant duties vary depending on where they work.
Clinical duties involve recording and updating medical records, taking temperatures, blood tests, dispensing medication, assisting with medical exams, performing medical tests, and discussing dietary changes.
Medical assistant programs run from 10 months to 2 years at vocational schools, community colleges, and universities.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Medical Assistant
- Cons of Being a Medical Assistant
- 14 Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant– Summary Table
- Should You Become a Medical Assistant
Pros of Being a Medical Assistant
A Growing Job Market
The medical assistant job market is expected to grow about 19% by 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This growth creates many opportunities for medical assistants and the opportunity to work in different environments.
This makes it a secure and stable job for those that want to work in the medical industry.
Medical assistants can work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, assisted living, and other settings.
The growth will give medical assistants the chance to develop many different skills.
With the growth of the industry, salaries will increase and benefits too.
Education Takes 10 Months to Two Years
Training for a medical assistant takes 10 months to two years.
It will be less expensive in cost and take less time to complete than other medical programs.
The programs teach students to handle administrative duties, clinical duties and often include an internship working in a medical setting.
Some medical assistants take exams and become certified to perform more complex duties.
Those that want to advance in their career can get further training and education.
Some programs allow students to complete some work online, giving them the time and flexibility to work and attend school.
Some hospitals and medical offices may provide on-the job training with a certificate or degree.
Some companies will provide tuition assistance when medical assistants want to advance their career.
Employees will have to stay on the job while completing courses to be reimbursed.
A Variety of Different Duties and Tasks
Many medical assistants find the work exciting because they perform many different tasks and duties.
When they like working with people, it gives them a chance to interact with patients and help them cope with chronic illness.
Medical assistants can work in the office greeting patients, helping with medical billing and insurance, making and rescheduling appointments, answering questions, or scheduling medical tests and hospital visits.
Their clinical duties will involve helping the doctor with physical exams and medical procedures.
Some medical assistants work in the office and in the exam room.
They may take temperature, draw blood samples, help with prescriptions, take blood pressure, weight, and heart rate.
Medical assistants help with physical exams and perform routine tests on patients.
The variety of duties make it an interesting and diverse job.
Medical Assistant Can Specialize
Medical assistants can specialize in certain areas if they have an interest in working in a particular specialty.
This can be pediatric, psychiatric, general medicine, oncology, allergy, dermatology, gerontology and many other specialities.
The benefits of specializing is that the person will be working in the field they have an interest in.
Specialization can be challenging and will teach specialized skills in certain disciplines.
This can increase the variety of skills and knowledge the medical assistant has.
In some specialties, they can work with children, teens, adults or seniors.
Some Medical Assistant Jobs Have Flexible and Reasonable Hours
Depending on where you work, some jobs have reasonable hours during the day with evening and weekends off.
Some doctors’ offices and clinics have flexible hours and do not work in the evenings and overtime.
Before taking a job, medical assistants should learn about the hours and requirements of the job to see if it fits what they are looking for.
Some offices may have 12 hour shifts three or four days a week, giving the employee several days off.
There are some part-time jobs depending on the needs of the business.
Many companies offer medical benefits, dental and vision to attract and keep good candidates.
Other perks companies offer are educational expenses, paid holidays and vacations, bonuses for work, and special events for employees.
Many will set up full-time employees with a retirement plan.
This prepares employees for retirement.
Some companies offer holiday bonuses and special incentives for working long hours or good work performance.
Traveling Medical Assistants
Some medical assistant jobs involve traveling from one hospital or clinic within a state or outside the state.
Many of these employees are not permanent and are there to fill a shortage.
They may work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and medical centers.
This job offers freedom and flexibility to choose the medical facility and geographic location you want to work in.
It gives employees a chance to increase their professional network.
When medical assistants travel out of state, they can visit historical and cultural sites in the area.
Cons of Being a Medical Assistant
Some Jobs Have Long Hours
Some medical assistants work 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week or more.
The hours may include evenings and weekends.
When employees work in a hospital, they work nights, weekends and holidays.
The hours worked will affect your family and personal life.
Students should try to find a specialty or setting that meets their requirements.
Specific Educational Degrees and Certification Are Expected By Some Hospitals and Medical Facilities
Some hospitals and medical businesses will require an associates degree and certification.
This means a student will have to get the degree and later take a certification exam to be qualified to work at the hospital or medical facility.
The American Association of Medical Assistants will have a list of schools and universities with approved programs and information on exams for certification and where to take them.
When employees want to advance, they will have to enroll and get more training and education.
Education Costs Money
Education for a medical assistant program can be expensive and when students do not have the money they will most likely have to take out a loan.
Loans lead to debt for many students due to the cost of living and inflation.
Some students work while going to school and it takes longer to complete their degree.
Scholarships are not easy to get and assistance with tuition.
There may be financial assistance and programs available at the school for the student to apply to.
Workers may be expected to perform several tasks at once in a short amount of time.
When workers are not good at multi-tasking, this can be a problem for them and the staff.
Drawing blood and performing medical tests can be stressful if workers make mistakes or are not skilled at what they do.
Medical assistants work with patients that have chronic illness illnesses, leading to some urgent and unpleasant interactions.
Many Rules and Procedures to Follow
Medical assistants have to follow strict procedures for performing tasks and need to be detailed and good at following directions.
The report to a doctor or nurse and they do not work independently and on their own.
Some doctors and nurses are very demanding and not easy to work with.
Some medical assistants may have a problem dealing with this issue.
Strict protocols and procedures are needed for patient and employee safety.
Working With Needles and Biohazards
Drawing blood can be stressful if you have trouble finding a patient’s veins and have to search for different locations.
Some patients are afraid and may be angry or hostile to the medical assistant, making it hard to get a blood sample.
Individuals that have a problem with drawing blood, needles, or body fluids may find this is not a job for them.
Patients with weak immune systems may be afraid of getting ill from being exposed to chemicals, blood, unsanitized equipment or human waste.
Medical assistants may fear illness from exposure to the same substances that patients do.
Some patients suffer from chronic illnesses and do not make pleasant patients.
They may be afraid and angry and opposed to every opportunity for treatment.
Some patients blame doctors for side effects and bad effects of drugs or treatment.
They may sue the doctor and the staff if the results are not what they expected.
It may not be anyone’s fault, but they blame them for the result or lack of success.
This is the down side of dealing with patients.
14 Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant– Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Medical Assistant||Cons of Being a Medical Assistant|
|A Growing Job Market||Some Jobs Have Long Hours|
|Education Takes 10 Months to Two Years||Specific Educational Degrees and Certification Are Expected By Some Hospitals and Medical Facilities|
|A Variety of Different Duties and Tasks||Education Costs Money|
|Medical Assistant Can Specialize||Stress|
|Some Medical Assistant Jobs Have Flexible and Reasonable Hours||Many Rules and Procedures to Follow|
|Benefits||Working With Needles and Biohazards|
|Traveling Medical Assistants||Difficult Patients|
Should You Become a Medical Assistant
When individuals have attention to detail, a strong interest in the medical industry, and want to help sick patients, they may be a good candidate for a medical assistant.
They should have the ability to deal with drawing blood, illness, risk, and strict medical procedures, working under a nurse or doctor, and stress.
Do not enter the field to please parents, mentors, or teachers.
If you do not have empathy for patients or patience, this field is not for you.
A person that can perform several tasks at once and do well under stress is an asset.
Good physical and mental health is required to deal with the job effectively.
Volunteering at a hospital and learning about the job is a good way to investigate it.
This is a purposeful job that needs applicants with a strong interest in the field and the talent to weather the ups and downs of the position.
Medical assistants should be compassionate, ethical, good communicators, organized, outgoing and like people, team players, able to follow instructions, detailed-oriented, and able to deal with difficult patients.
They should want to help patients overcome their illness.