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Become A Medical Research Assistant

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Working As A Medical Research Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $50,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Research Assistant Do

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice. 

Duties

Medical assistants typically do the following:

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Help the physician with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by the physician and as permitted by state law
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records

Medical assistants take and record patients’ personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing some medical assistants’ jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.

Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician’s supervision.

In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.

Administrative medical assistants often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. They often answer telephones and schedule patient appointments.

Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on the state where they work. They may do basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They may have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.

Some medical assistants specialize according to the type of medical office where they work. The following are examples of specialized medical assistants:

Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants help ophthalmologists and optometrists, respectively, provide eye care. They show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. Ophthalmic medical assistants also may help an ophthalmologist in surgery.

Podiatric medical assistants work closely with podiatrists (foot doctors). They may make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and help podiatrists in surgery.

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How To Become A Medical Research Assistant

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.

Education

Medical assistants typically graduate from postsecondary education programs. Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states, employers may prefer to hire assistants who have completed these programs.

Programs for medical assisting are available from community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and universities and take about 1 year to complete. These programs usually lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree. All programs have classroom and laboratory portions that include lessons in anatomy and medical terminology.

Some medical assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their duties on the job. High school students interested in a career as a medical assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Medical assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses. They may be required to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes.

Detail oriented. Medical assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information. Physicians and insurance companies rely on accurate records.

Interpersonal skills. Medical assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel, such as physicians. They often interact with patients who may be in pain or in distress, so they need to be able to act in a calm and professional manner.

Technical skills. 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.

Training

Medical assistants who do not have postsecondary education learn their skills through on-the-job training. Physicians or other medical assistants may teach a new assistant medical terminology, the names of the instruments, how to do daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other tasks that help keep an office running smoothly. Medical assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records (EHRs) and how to record patient information. It can take several months for an assistant to complete training, depending on the facility.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical assistants are not required to be certified in most states. However, employers prefer to hire certified assistants.

Several organizations offer certification. An applicant must pass an exam and have taken one of several routes to be eligible for each certification. These routes include graduation from an accredited program and work experience, among others. In most cases, an applicant must be at least 18 years old before applying for certification.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredits five certifications for medical assistants:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association

Some states may require assistants to graduate from an accredited program, pass an exam, or both, in order to practice. Contact the state board of medicine for more information.

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Medical Research Assistant Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
MD 3.4 years
Medical Assistant 3.0 years
Medical Internship 0.6 years
Top Careers Before Medical Research Assistant
Internship 7.4%
Cashier 5.9%
Volunteer 3.5%
Top Careers After Medical Research Assistant
Internship 4.4%
Volunteer 2.7%
Cashier 2.7%
Assistant 2.1%

Do you work as a Medical Research Assistant?

Average Yearly Salary
$50,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$29,000
Min 10%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Mission Regional Medical Center
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Medical Research Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Medical Research Assistant in the United States is $50,097 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $85,000.

Real Medical Research Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Research Assistant Valley Health & Acupuncture Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 17, 2013 $81,393
Medical Research Assistant Northern California Health & Acupuncture, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 19, 2013 $81,247
Medical Research Assistant Northern California Health & Acupuncture, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 19, 2013 $81,247
Medical Research Assistant Doctors Hospital of Michigan Pontiac, MI May 27, 2010 $77,565
Medical Research Assistant California Health & Acupuncture, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 15, 2015 $71,355
Medical Research Assistant California Health & Acupuncture, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 09, 2014 $68,266
Medical Research Assistant Northern California Health & Acupuncture, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 19, 2011 $66,596
Medical Research Assistant Angel City Family Care Services Cerritos, CA Oct 01, 2012 $62,610
Medical Research Assistant Jhansi R. Ganesan, Md P.C. Laurel, MD Oct 01, 2010 $62,587
Medical Research Assistant Studio Styles International Inc. Weston, FL Dec 01, 2011 $60,000
Medical Research Assistant Ridgecrest Healthcare Center Ridgecrest, CA Sep 26, 2011 $59,020
Medical Research Assistant Rana A. Bahl, Md Inc. Montclair, CA Sep 02, 2012 $58,603
Medical Scientist/Medical Research Assistant Los Angeles-Boston Bioresearch Fund, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 31, 2010 $58,436
Medical Scientist/Medical Research Assistant Los Angeles-Boston Bioresearch Fund, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 03, 2010 $54,262
Medical Research Assistant Meryl Comer Kensington, MD Mar 13, 2012 $45,914
Medical Research Assistant University Neurology Inc. Buffalo, NY Jun 04, 2012 $45,914
Medical Research Assistant University Neurology, Inc. Buffalo, NY Aug 29, 2011 $45,914
Medical Research Assistant Meryl Comer Kensington, MD Mar 13, 2010 $45,914
Medical Research Assistant Golden Cross Care, Inc. Pasadena, CA Jun 20, 2010 $44,766
Medical Research Assistant SAI Thanmye Associates LLC Merritt Island, FL Dec 17, 2009 $43,827
Medical Research Assistant SAI Thanmye Associates LLC Merritt Island, FL Nov 15, 2009 $43,827
Medical Research Assistant University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jan 01, 2012 $40,653
Medical Research Assistant Pediatric Cardiology of Southwest Louisiana, LLC Lake Charles, LA Oct 01, 2009 $39,520
Medical Research Assistant Medicos General PC Memphis, TN Sep 09, 2010 $37,399 -
$18
Medical Research Assistant/Biochemist University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jan 29, 2008 $37,229
Medical Research Assistant Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock, TX Feb 02, 2011 $37,211
Medical Research Assistant Chattanooga Othropaedic Group PC Chattanooga, TN Oct 01, 2013 $37,000
Medical Research Assistant Chattanooga Orthopaedic Group PC Chattanooga, TN Oct 01, 2013 $37,000
Medical Research Assistant Park Slope Anesthesia Associates PC New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $36,982

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Top Skills for A Medical Research Assistant

  1. Surgical Procedures
  2. Laboratory Specimens
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted in reconstructive surgery and performed basic medical and surgical procedures.
  • Processed and shipped laboratory specimens.
  • Recognized for providing exceptional patient care, maintaining a calm demeanor and reacting effectively in emergency situations.
  • Updated and maintained over 200 patients chart/documented patients' medical history, vital statistics, and test results in medical records.
  • Job responsibility included taking brief patient medical history and obtain vital signs.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Research Assistants

  1. Alaska
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Washington
  4. Oregon
  5. Minnesota
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Connecticut
  8. Rhode Island
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Maine
  • (83 jobs)
  • (1,086 jobs)
  • (607 jobs)
  • (358 jobs)
  • (413 jobs)
  • (472 jobs)
  • (333 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)

Medical Research Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

69.3%

Male

18.0%

Unknown

12.7%
Ethnicity

White

54.2%

Hispanic or Latino

19.7%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

10.1%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.9%

French

7.1%

Mandarin

6.3%

Chinese

5.6%

Arabic

3.2%

German

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Japanese

2.4%

Cantonese

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Tigrinya

0.8%

Telugu

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Romanian

0.8%

Russian

0.8%

Amharic

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

Hindi

0.8%

Tamil

0.8%
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Medical Research Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.8%

University of South Florida

8.1%

Everest Institute

8.1%

Keiser University

8.1%

George Washington University

6.9%

University of the Sciences

5.0%

The Academy

5.0%

University of California - Los Angeles

5.0%

Remington College

5.0%

Johns Hopkins University

5.0%

San Antonio College

4.4%

Boston University

3.8%

Drexel University

3.8%

South University

3.8%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

3.8%

University of Rochester

3.1%

New York University

3.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.1%

Michigan State University

3.1%

Valencia College

3.1%
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Majors

Medical Assisting Services

33.5%

Nursing

13.7%

Health Care Administration

7.0%

Biology

6.7%

Business

5.8%

Psychology

4.3%

Medicine

4.2%

Medical Technician

4.0%

Public Health

3.2%

Education

2.4%

Biomedical Engineering

2.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.8%

Physician Assistant

1.7%

Clinical Psychology

1.6%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.5%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.5%

Nursing Assistants

1.5%

Health Sciences And Services

1.3%

Management

1.2%

General Studies

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

32.5%

Bachelors

22.3%

Masters

13.1%

Associate

11.4%

Certificate

9.5%

Diploma

5.8%

Doctorate

4.8%

License

0.6%
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