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Medical Assistant Program and School Information


Medical Assistants take care of both administrative and clinical duties in many different types of medical offices.  Their responsibilities vary from one office to another.  In a large office they may focus on one specific area, such as handling medical records or preparing patients for exams and diagnostic tests.  Some medical assistants work in specific areas of medicine, such as podiatry or optometry.  Some go on to pursue further training to become nurses and other medical careers, others advance in their jobs to become medical office managers.

To become a Medical Assistant, you have a few different options.  Some Medical assistants are simply trained on the job.  If you choose to pursue this route, any sort of medical volunteering is helpful, as is clerical experience and high school courses in biology, office skills, and mathematics.  The majority, however, start out by participating in a 1 - 2 year Medical Assistant course.  These are often offered through vocational or technical high school programs, post-secondary technical and vocational schools, and junior or community colleges.  One year programs are generally certificate programs, whereas the two year programs are usually Associate's Degree programs.  Accredited programs often include an internship as well.  Some certifications are available to certify Medical Assistants in specialty areas.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Assisting is one of the fastest growing career fields in the country.  Huge growth is expected over the next eight years and demand is high.  The median annual wages for a Medical Assistant in 2008 was $28,300.  The top ten percent earned $39,570 that same year.  The field is expected to grow 34% by 2018.  

Medical Assistants work in both inpatient and outpatient facilities.  The may work in hospitals, physicians offices, and walk-in clinics.  They may work in chiropractic or massage therapy offices, physical therapy or sports medicine clinics, even cosmetic surgery and naturopathic health offices.  The need for Medical Assistants is very wide spread throughout the medical field.

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