Signs You Should Pursue a Medical Assisting Degree
Updated By Staff Writer on March 31, 2020
Whether you’ve just finished high school, or you have a family and a full-time job already, it’s time to start planning for your future. When you imagine your dream career, it probably includes stability and longevity combined with elements like fun and fulfillment. A career that is both practical and enjoyable may be easier to attain than you think. It’s time to learn more about a career as a medical assistant.
Medical assistants are vital to almost every healthcare organization. They provide the necessary support to nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals by preparing patients for their visits, tracking data, and a variety of other important activities. They are required to be trained and may get certified, but don’t need a graduate degree or a decade of experience, which makes it the perfect job for friendly, motivated individuals who don’t want to wait a long time to get started working in healthcare.
What is a Medical Assistant?
A medical assistant works in various types of healthcare facilities alongside clinical personnel and performs both administrative and clinical tasks. Some administrative responsibilities include scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, updating patient records, and handling billing and insurance. Clinical tasks a medical assistant may perform include taking patients’ vital signs, administering medication, drawing blood, sterilizing equipment, and conducting lab tests.
Why Choose a Medical Assisting Career?
What makes a medical assisting degree and career so appealing? For starters, jobs in the medical field are becoming increasingly abundant. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,1 the employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29% by 2026. This is much faster than the average for other occupations.
Another advantage of working as a medical assistant is that you can enter the workforce relatively quickly. With an Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Medical Assisting from Independence University, you can be finished with your degree program in as little as 20 months, including a clinical externship and certifications. And it’s online!
Medical assisting also provides the advantages of steady and predictable schedules and long-term job security. As a medical assistant in a healthcare clinic, you will be able to work during business hours and have evenings free. If you don’t mind later or varying shifts, you can also work in a hospital setting. Since there will always be people in need of healthcare, you can rely on the fact that there will always be a need for medical assistants.
Finally, depending on your long-term goals, a medical assisting job can make a great career, or be a stepping stone that helps you advance to the career you want. It is a great starting place for nursing and many other clinical or administrative healthcare positions. Plus, you may be able to work as a medical assistant while completing more schooling and certifications.
5 Traits That Would Make You a Great Medical Assistant
As with any career, there are certain skills and personality traits that may make a person more inclined to succeed as a medical assistant. If the following descriptions sound like you, then a medical assisting degree is probably going to be a great fit.
1. People Person
A medical assistant’s duties largely center around interaction with patients, so it is highly advantageous if you are friendly, outgoing, and have the ability to get along with people you don’t know very well. You also need to be someone that patients feel comfortable confiding in and coming to with questions.
2. Problem Solver
Although you will know—and be provided with—a fair amount of information, it is important that you are able to find the tools or information needed to solve a problem you are unfamiliar with. A medical assistant will be asked a lot of questions by a lot of people. When a doctor is not present, you may need to be resourceful and figure out how to handle a tough situation on your own.
Performing tasks in a thorough and accurate manner is another key responsibility of a medical assistant. It is especially important during tasks like recording patient data, taking vital signs, or preparing someone for a lab or office visit.
As one of the first people that a patient interacts with in the office, it is your job to help them feel immediately welcome and comfortable, regardless of their appearance or reason for coming in. You will see a variety of patients and some of them may be embarrassed when explaining their symptoms, having their weight measured, or giving details about their lifestyle. A person who is open-minded will be better able to care for these patients and receive better cooperation from them in return.
5. Energetic and Organized
A medical assistant is responsible for many of the activities that take place within a healthcare facility and may not have a lot of time to stop and gather their thoughts. It is helpful if you are able to keep track of various tasks at a time and keep up with the pace of the workload.
Where Can I Get a Medical Assisting Degree?
An Associate of Occupational Studies degree in Medical Assisting from Independence University is a great way to prepare for a career in this field. Earning your degree online allows you greater flexibility with your schedule, so you’re not interrupting your life while you earn your degree. You’ll gain hands-on experience through externships at medical facilities and through our in-person residency program, as part of the curriculum, so you’ll graduate with a degree and an impressive resume?. We’ll also provide you with a laptop to use while attending and to keep after you graduate, as well as pay for your certifications.
In this online medical assisting degree program, you’ll take courses in medical billing, medical records, vital signs, pharmacology, and phlebotomy. Throughout these online courses and external trainings, you’ll learn how to complete patient histories and general office tasks, take and record vital signs, administer injections, and conduct basic laboratory procedures. Your classes are focused on helping you succeed in your career, so your time is spent learning skills for your future career.
If a medical assisting degree sounds like the perfect fit for you, contact Independence University and request more information today! Don’t forget to check out our other healthcare degrees and learn about all the options available for continuing education.