Medical assistants provide support to medical practitioners in both administrative and clerical tasks. They keep and update the patient's medical records, administer medicines under the supervision of a physician, assist during medical examinations, prepare medical samples for laboratory testing, manage the schedule of appointments, and assist the patients with their bills and in filling out needed forms, such as insurance-related documents. Medical assistants should have good communication skills and analytical skills, be organized, and be flexible. They should also have knowledge of how to operate some medical equipment such as x-ray machines.

Medical Assistant Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real medical assistant resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Create and maintain confidential patient files; implement EHR systems to automate patient records management for the purposes of meaningful use.
  • Assist medical staff in billing, updating medical records, and adhering to HIPAA requirements-complete while maintaining exceptional customer service.
  • Perform vital signs, wind care, dexterity, crutch instruction and other tasks.
  • Back office duties - vital signs, blood draw, EKG, vaccination, TB test, and urinalysis etc.
  • Perform test such as EKG's, urinalysis, rapid strep test, glucose, influenza, and peak flow testing.
  • Assist in clinical aspects of readying patient for visit, taking of vital signs, blood draws, EKG and injections.
  • Assist in reconstructive surgery and perform basic medical and surgical procedures.
  • Organize patient charting and documentation, conduct patient education and patient confidentiality per OSHA and HIPAA guidelines.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in taking patient history and vitals, venipuncture, injections, urinalysis and preparing examination trays.
  • Provide patient education, contraceptive and STI counseling, obtain patient histories, venipuncture and laboratory testing, medical records and billing
Medical Assistant Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Medical Assistant Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a medical assistant does, you may be wondering, "should I become a medical assistant?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, medical assistants have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 23% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of medical assistant opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 154,900.

Medical assistants average about $15.54 an hour, which makes the medical assistant annual salary $32,314. Additionally, medical assistants are known to earn anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 a year. This means that the top-earning medical assistants make $15,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a medical assistant, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a certified medical assistant/certified nurse assistant, medical internship, medical scribe, and student medical assistant-externship.

Medical Assistant Jobs You Might Like

Medical Assistant Resume Examples

Medical Assistant Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 20% of Medical Assistants are proficient in Patient Care, Vital Signs, and Medical Records. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Detail oriented, and Interpersonal skills.

We break down the percentage of Medical Assistants that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patient Care, 20%

    Improved overall patient-to-provider patient care by assisting a provider in the examination room to document all necessary medical information.

  • Vital Signs, 11%

    Demonstrated proficiency in taking patient medical histories and vital signs while preparing patients for examinations and treatments.

  • Medical Records, 6%

    Input clinical notes, demographics, and insurance information into computer system utilizing both Athena and EMA electronic medical records databases.

  • Exam Rooms, 6%

    Assisted with preparing patients for physicians, administering immunizations, directing patient education, and maintaining exam rooms and laboratory area.

  • Front Office, 5%

    Front office responsibilities included scheduling, appointment confirmations, verifying insurance, approvals and authorizations from the VA or Social Security office

  • Phlebotomy, 4%

    Advised and counseled families, assisted in medical and laboratory procedures, including phlebotomy, injections and circumcision.

"patient care," "vital signs," and "medical records" aren't the only skills we found medical assistants list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of medical assistant responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Analytical skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a medical assistant to have. According to a medical assistant resume, "medical assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses" medical assistants are able to use analytical skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "charred pertinent data in patient's records, maintaining abnormal pap smears records and scheduled follow up testing. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform medical assistant duties is the following: detail oriented. According to a medical assistant resume, "medical assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information." Check out this example of how medical assistants use detail oriented: "exhibited strong attention to detail in stocking/ordering supplies, sterilizing instruments and scheduling appointments for patients. "
  • Medical assistants are also known for interpersonal skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a medical assistant resume: "medical assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel, such as physicians" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "contributed dynamic interpersonal relation skills toward delivering quality customer service in addressing and resolving conflict situations in a fast-paced environment. "
  • A medical assistant responsibilities sometimes require "technical skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "medical assistants should be able to use basic clinical instruments so they can take a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure." This resume example shows how this skill is used by medical assistants: "perform technical functions, encompassing colposcopies, endometrial, cervical and vulvar biopsies, as well as pap smears. "
  • See the full list of medical assistant skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a medical assistant. We found that 10.7% of medical assistants have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 2.3% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While some medical assistants have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every None medical assistants were not college graduates.

    Those medical assistants who do attend college, typically earn either medical assisting services degrees or nursing degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for medical assistants include health care administration degrees or business degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a medical assistant. We've found that most medical assistant resumes include experience from UnitedHealth Group, Ascension Health Alliance, and Providence Health & Services. Of recent, UnitedHealth Group had 273 positions open for medical assistants. Meanwhile, there are 218 job openings at Ascension Health Alliance and 156 at Providence Health & Services.

    Since salary is important to some medical assistants, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at North Carolina Central University, The University of Arizona, and Washington State Employees Credit Union. If you were to take a closer look at North Carolina Central University, you'd find that the average medical assistant salary is $42,544. Then at The University of Arizona, medical assistants receive an average salary of $39,113, while the salary at Washington State Employees Credit Union is $39,084.

    View more details on medical assistant salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious medical assistants are:

      What Certified Medical Assistant/Certified Nurse Assistants Do

      A certified medical assistant (CMA) or certified nurse assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who performs clinical and administrative duties in clinics or medical facilities. Certified medical assistants provide excellent customer service to patients arriving and departing from the medical facility and administer injections or medications to their patients. In administrative duties, certified medical assistants are tasked to help clients submit insurance claims and encode medical records to the computer system. They also can work with specialized physicians such as ophthalmologists and podiatrists.

      We looked at the average medical assistant annual salary and compared it with the average of a certified medical assistant/certified nurse assistant. Generally speaking, certified medical assistants/certified nurse assistants receive $78 lower pay than medical assistants per year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both medical assistants and certified medical assistants/certified nurse assistants positions are skilled in patient care, vital signs, and medical records.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a medical assistant responsibility requires skills such as "front office," "phlebotomy," "office procedures," and "venipuncture." Whereas a certified medical assistant/certified nurse assistant is skilled in "rn," "lpn," "emergency," and "personal care." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Certified medical assistants/certified nurse assistants receive the highest salaries in the professional industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $33,875. But medical assistants are paid more in the health care industry with an average salary of $32,806.

      On average, certified medical assistants/certified nurse assistants reach similar levels of education than medical assistants. Certified medical assistants/certified nurse assistants are 0.5% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Medical Internship?

      When it comes to a medical internship, one of the primary duties is to attend to the patients' needs while under a more experienced physician's supervision. During this period, the medical interns must rotate in various fields of specialties or departments for exposure. Aside from learning and observing, there are also instances when medical interns are required to produce necessary reports and documentation, communicate with patients and families, and take part in more challenging cases.

      Now we're going to look at the medical internship profession. On average, medical interns earn a $22,324 higher salary than medical assistants a year.

      A similarity between the two careers of medical assistants and medical interns are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "patient care," "vital signs," and "medical records. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that medical assistant responsibilities requires skills like "customer service," "venipuncture," "phone calls," and "specimen collection." But a medical internship might use skills, such as, "rn," "communication," "surgery," and "powerpoint."

      It's been discovered that medical interns earn higher salaries compared to medical assistants, but we wanted to find out where medical interns earned the most pay. The answer? The pharmaceutical industry. The average salary in the industry is $56,431. Additionally, medical assistants earn the highest paychecks in the health care with an average salary of $32,806.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, medical interns tend to reach higher levels of education than medical assistants. In fact, they're 9.0% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Medical Scribe Compares

      As a medical scribe, their main responsibility is to follow a physician's daily work and do charting of patient encounters in real-time by accessing their medical electronic health record (EHR). It is their duty to make sure the patient schedules are followed, generate referral letters for physicians and manage and sort medical documents within the EHR. Medical scribes can be held as data custodians, medical assistants, and nurses to focus on patient in-take and care throughout clinic hours. In addition, they manage patient flow through the clinic and increase productivity to cater to more patients.

      Let's now take a look at the medical scribe profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than medical assistants with a $4,802 difference per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several medical assistants and medical scribes we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "patient care," "vital signs," and "medical records," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a medical assistant is likely to be skilled in "exam rooms," "front office," "phlebotomy," and "cpr," while a typical medical scribe is skilled in "emergency," "physician assistants," "medical decision," and "present illness."

      Interestingly enough, medical scribes earn the most pay in the health care industry, where they command an average salary of $30,778. As mentioned previously, medical assistants highest annual salary comes from the health care industry with an average salary of $32,806.

      Medical scribes typically study at higher levels compared with medical assistants. For example, they're 9.0% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Student Medical Assistant-Externship

      Student Medical Assistant Externship is a broad term for catering students for short, reliable, and practical work experience. Once you graduate, you can get a chance to meet contacts that may be useful for your career. You can have a better chance to work in a clinic, hospital, and any medical platform after going through this kind of externship.

      Now, we'll look at student medical assistant-externships, who generally average a lower pay when compared to medical assistants annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $10,569 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, medical assistants and student medical assistant-externships both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "patient care," "vital signs," and "medical records. "

      Each job requires different skills like "customer service," "specimen collection," "osha," and "medical supplies," which might show up on a medical assistant resume. Whereas student medical assistant-externship might include skills like "surgery," "independent living," "emr," and "emergency."

      In general, student medical assistant-externships reach higher levels of education when compared to medical assistants resumes. Student medical assistant-externships are 6.3% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 3.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.