Field of Study: Medical Assisting
Medical assisting programs prepare people to work in medical offices and clinics. Students learn to interview patients, make appointments, and keep records. They also learn to send bills and take payments. They learn to weigh patients and take their blood pressure.
If a career in medicine intrigues you, and you enjoy wearing many hats, you may want to consider medical assisting. Medical assistants perform both clinical and administrative duties. They might spend one hour getting patients and medical supplies ready for the physician. They would do this by weighing their patients, taking their vital signs, and running lab tests on blood samples. Then they might devote the next hour to office tasks: calling insurance companies, scheduling appointments, and updating patient files. This is just a taste of the variety of things a medical assistant could do in a medical clinic or office.
Students of medical assisting learn how to handle basic medical office responsibilities. They study medical insurance and billing policies. They also learn to do simple medical procedures. To do this, they must study medical terminology. They also learn about the various legal and ethical issues in the field. These are important because medical assistants are involved with so many different aspects of medicine.
Medical assistants also have the opportunity to specialize. For example, a medical assistant might be interested in eye medicine. By taking additional courses, this student could prepare to work as an ophthalmic medical assistant.
Many schools offer accredited programs in medical assisting. You can earn either a certificate or an associate degree. Certificates usually take about one year of full-time study after high school, and associate degrees typically take two years.