When patients arrive for a medical appointment, it's the medical assistant who has prepared the treatment room and made sure equipment is ready for the doctor. With both patient care and administrative responsibilities, they help keep medical establishments running smoothly. Medical assistants often perform several tasks during an appointment. They may measure vital signs before the doctor arrives, assist with the examination, and enter patient information into medical records. Sometimes they may give patients medications. At the end of the appointment, they dispose of contaminated supplies or sterilize instruments for future use. In smaller practices, they may also schedule appointments and prepare samples for lab work, whereas many large practices encourage specialization in either administrative or clinical work. Medical assistants work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics. Most work full-time, including on holidays, nights, and weekends. Requirements to enter the field vary; some medical assistants hold a high school diploma, and learn their duties on the job. However, job applicants who have completed a short-term medical assistant certificate program, and passed a certification exam may have better opportunities. Regardless of where medical assistants work, they make life easier for the medical staff and their patients.
What they do:
Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.
On the job, you would:
Record patients' medical history, vital statistics, or information such as test results in medical records.
Prepare treatment rooms for patient examinations, keeping the rooms neat and clean.
Interview patients to obtain medical information and measure their vital signs, weight, and height.
medicine and dentistry
Arts and Humanities
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
talking to others
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
understanding people's reactions
changing what is done based on other people's actions
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Medical condition coding software
Electronic mail software
certificate after high school or associate's degree usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.