What It’s Like to be a Medical Assistant Student?

Why become a medical assistant?

As a medical assistant, you are taking your passion for helping others and using it within your professional career! You may even find that you are tired or bored of your typical day-to-day tasks in your current role, so you’re considering a more fulfilling career path. As a medical assistant, you will work with medical patients in a variety of different settings, such as within clinics, outpatient facilities, doctors’ offices, or ambulatory care facilities. The best part? The medical assistant field is projected to grow 29% by 2026, as there are so many facilities that require medical assistants. There are also two different paths within the medical assistant field depending on your specific area of interest. According to the Occupational Analysis of Medical Assistants, you can work either on the clinical or administrative sides of the job, but throughout your education, you can expect to be cross-trained in both.

Choosing the right school

The first step for students considering a career as a medical assistant is to choose the right school and program for them. It’s important to take into consideration the programs offered by each school you are considering. For example, if you are looking for medical assisting schools in Georgia, at Genesis Career College, the program provides students both with classroom instruction as well as hands-on learning opportunities through their externships. Externships are another crucial thing to take into consideration when deciding on the right school for you. They help to ensure that students can apply the instruction and skills they are taught in the classroom, and it also helps students to get hands-on experience and ensure that they are pursuing a career path that is a right fit for them.  

Classes you should expect to take

When pursuing a medical assistant diploma, it’s important to take into consideration the courses you can expect to take, as well. Although medical assistant programs vary across the country, the overarching subjects that students can expect to learn about are the same. As mentioned previously, medical assistants can work on both the clinical and administrative side of the field, so their schooling should provide them with adequate training on all of the subjects needed to carry out those tasks within medical offices. Listed below are some of the common courses you can expect to take while in your medical assistant program:

  • Laboratory procedures
  • Billing/Coding
  • Understanding medical insurance
  • Overall patient care
  • Externships
  • Medical law/Ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Electrocardiography/Cardiopulmonary

Although the subjects outlined above may come off as overwhelming at first, it’s important to remember that these are not all taught at once and many of the topics will blend together in terms of job tasks and things you need to learn.

Jobs available once you graduate

Medical assistants learn skills that are applicable to not only the medical field but others as well such as within a business environment. Because of this, there are so many potential career paths and different jobs available for medical assistants upon graduation. So, what jobs could you pursue with your medical assistant diploma? Stay tuned to find out.

1. Long-Term Care Medical Assistant

Long-term care facilities are relatively new for medical assistants to work in because many states forbid anybody other than nurses to provide hands-on care for patients. However, with the expanding amount of clerical work needing to be done, medical assistant roles are beginning to open within these long-term care facilities. They can use their clinical expertise to assist with several of the duties required in assistant living facilities. Examples include billing and coding, submitting insurance claims, being a point of contact for families, scheduling patient appointments, and so much more!

2. Medical Billing/Coding

Medical billing and coding are especially important, as medical assistants are taught many of the administrative duties revolved around these tasks. They may find themselves working as a coding or billing specialist in a doctor’s office or within a hospital setting. In simple terms, this position would be responsible for managing insurance claims, coding insurance forms, helping patients with their payment plans, submitting insurance claims, and any other financial reporting required by the role.

3. Laboratory Medical Assistant

Medical assistants could also work in a laboratory upon graduation to handle the administrative tasks required. On a day-to-day basis, a laboratory medical assistant could be responsible for educating patients and fielding any of their inquiries, drawing blood, preparing patient samples for testing, obtaining patient data, and packaging samples for shipment, if required.

4. Hospital Medical Assistant

As a hospital medical assistant, you can traditionally expect to work within a single department, such as the ICU or emergency room. In most cases, hospital medical assistants carry out more of the administrative tasks required and may be responsible for checking patients in, collecting their payments, reviewing their treatment forms, and verifying their insurance and demographic information.

5. School Medical Assistant

Many schools and universities today are also hiring medical assistants to work in their healthcare facilities. Typically, medical assistants will work under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or another physician to improve students’ access to healthcare. In this role, you can expect to gather students’ health information, administer vaccines, check patients in, verify their insurance, and assist with education programs when needed.

These are only a few of the dozens of potential career paths you can pursue as a medical assistant. The first step is to decide on the school and program that best suits you and your lifestyle!  

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