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Become A Medical Specialist

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Working As A Medical Specialist

  • 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

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Specialist 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 Specialist

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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Medical Specialist 4.0 years
Medical Assistant 3.0 years
Medical Internship 0.6 years
Top Careers Before Medical Specialist
Cashier 5.5%
Internship 4.8%
Specialist 2.8%
Paramedic 2.5%
Nurse 2.5%
Supervisor 2.4%
Top Careers After Medical Specialist
Cashier 3.7%
Supervisor 3.1%
Technician 3.1%
Nurse 3.1%
Specialist 3.0%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as a Medical Specialist?

Medical Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

52.3%

Male

36.8%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.1%

French

9.3%

German

5.4%

Tagalog

4.7%

Portuguese

2.3%

Chinese

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Swedish

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Mandarin

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Zulu

0.8%

Dari

0.8%

Russian

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Serbian

0.8%

Italian

0.8%

Persian

0.8%

Slovak

0.8%
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Medical Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.8%

Kaplan University

7.8%

Ashford University

5.8%

Walden University

5.2%

The Academy

5.0%

Strayer University

4.4%

Grand Canyon University

4.4%

University of Maryland - University College

4.2%

Capella University

4.2%

Liberty University

3.6%

Columbia Southern University

3.2%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.2%

Metropolitan Community College

3.0%

American InterContinental University

3.0%

Ross Medical Education Center

3.0%

Central Texas College

2.8%

Eastern Kentucky University

2.8%

Everest Institute

2.6%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.6%

University of Cincinnati

2.4%
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Majors

Nursing

21.9%

Business

16.1%

Health Care Administration

12.3%

Medical Assisting Services

9.3%

Medical Technician

4.5%

Psychology

4.2%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Management

3.1%

General Studies

3.0%

Biology

2.8%

Pharmacy

2.6%

Medicine

2.3%

Accounting

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Health Sciences And Services

1.8%

Public Health

1.8%

Social Work

1.6%

Education

1.5%

Nursing Assistants

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

28.0%

Other

26.1%

Associate

16.3%

Masters

14.0%

Certificate

7.9%

Diploma

4.0%

Doctorate

3.0%

License

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$48,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$26,000
Min 10%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
LifePoint Health
Highest Paying City
Santa Clara, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does a Medical Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Medical Specialist in the United States is $48,759 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $90,000.

Real Medical Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Spine Specialist Physician Marshfield Clinic Weston, WI Jul 15, 2010 $256,500
Medical Specialist Forensic Psychiatrist 2 Mn Department of Human Services, State Operated FO Saint Peter, MN Jul 16, 2014 $256,218
Senior Medical Specialist Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Aug 21, 2013 $202,507
Senior Medical Specialist Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, NJ Aug 03, 2014 $163,415
Medical Specialist 2 (Psychiatrist) State of Minnesota, Department of Human Services Anoka, MN May 21, 2012 $161,820
Lead Medical Management Specialist L. A. Care Health Plan Los Angeles, CA Nov 19, 2015 $116,646
Geneticist-Regional Medical Specialist Myriad Genetics, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Sep 03, 2015 $85,000
Geneticist-Regional Medical Specialist Myriad Genetics, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jul 15, 2016 $76,376
Orthoptic Medical Specialist The University of Iowa Iowa City, IA Oct 01, 2015 $64,616
Orthoptic Medical Specialist The University of Iowa Iowa City, IA Oct 01, 2012 $60,000
Medical Specialist and Accupunturist Youngqi, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 16, 2015 $56,349
Medical Specialist and Acupuncturist Youngqi, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 18, 2015 $56,349

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Top Skills for A Medical Specialist

  1. Medical Records
  2. Treatment Procedures
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided emergency patient care, maintained medical records, inventoried and stocked medical supplies
  • Reviewed, analyzed and managed coding of diagnostic and treatment procedures contained in outpatient medical records.
  • Identify a wide range of medication-related problems for resolution to provide exceptional patient care.
  • Responded to correspondence from insurance companies.
  • Integrated advanced troubleshooting techniques in Combat Medicine.

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Specialists

  1. Minnesota
  2. Alaska
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Vermont
  5. South Dakota
  6. New Jersey
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Washington
  10. Connecticut
  • (381 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (385 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (329 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (212 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)

Top Medical Specialist Employers

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