Medical assistants play an important role by helping physicians in their various duties. The duties of medical assistants involve multitasking between administrative and clinical responsibilities. Although the qualification required for one to be a medical assistant is in most cases a postsecondary level of education like a certificate as noted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a medical assistant degree will put you in a better position in terms of your career.
For instance, with a medical assistant degree, you can specialize as a podiatric medical assistant or as an optometric and ophthalmic medical assistant. There is also an opportunity for you to specialize as a pharmacy technician should you choose to take a pharmacy technician course.
The various careers or specializations that are available for holders of medical assistant degrees are detailed below.
Specializing as an administrative medical assistant
Administrative medical assistants carry out reception duties, arrange and file patient data, and gather insurance information. They also schedule appointments and help in checking in and checking out patients.
Specializing as a medical laboratory technician
In this case, you will be able to perform tasks such as drawing patients’ blood, collecting samples and analyzing fluids and tissues.
Specializing as a podiatric medical assistant
As a podiatric medical assistant, you work with physicians who specialize in treating feet, ankles and the lower legs. You can be called upon to take and process X-ray images of patients’ feet and make casts when needed.
Specializing as an optometric and ophthalmic medical assistant
In this case, you will work with the human eye. Some of the roles that you need to perform in this regard include testing ocular functions, using vision acuity and basic color vision trials, checking eyeglass prescriptions, and using specialized equipment to take eye measurements. You will also be involved in giving out topical ophthalmic prescriptions and advising patients on how to insert contact lenses and to take care of their eyewear.
Also to keep in mind
Is the school accredited?
The school that you choose to join should have been certified. Accreditation implies that the college offers the required level of training and complies with the set standards, as noted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Does the program suit your needs?
You want to make sure the school you choose has a challenging enough curriculum to make the tuition cost worthwhile. Spend some time talking to teachers and current students of the program alike and glean through them what the experience is like. Are there office hours? How big is the class size? Is there an externship following the coursework portion of the degree? These are all important things to ask and will help you weed out the less credible programs.
Is the program flexible?
You should choose a school that offers a flexible program so that you are able to attend to other duties in your life. Maybe you work a day job and can only go to school at night or have kids to take care of. The school you for your medical assistant degree should be able to accommodate exactly your needs.
Keep all the above things in mind as you start to look into the discipline of medical assisting you want to go in, as well as the school that will help make that happen.