Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing fields in the US economy, making it an incredible option for anyone looking for a change of career. While the barriers to entry for some branches of healthcare can be steep, there are many ways to break into this field that do not require a decade of schooling. Medical assisting has consistently proven to be an excellent entry-level opportunity for individuals interested in a career in healthcare. If you think this opportunity might be right for you, then keep reading to discover more about how you can begin your career and where you can ultimately go.

The Many Roles Of Medical Assistants

For those unfamiliar with the position, the term "medical assistant" can often seem vague. In part, this is because medical assistants fill a variety of roles in clinical settings. The typical medical assistant has duties that cover both the clinical and administrative sides of a healthcare facility. Medical assistants often spend time working at front desks, taking patient information, and assisting patients with billing or insurance issues.

On the clinical side, assistants with the proper certifications may also help doctors and nurses with a wide variety of tasks. These responsibilities include everything from arranging lab tests to working with medical equipment. Some of these duties require additional certifications, but they can also be stepping stones to career advancement.

Getting Started

The primary certifying board for medical assistants is the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Prospective medical assistants must receive their Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credentials before beginning work. Aside from this requirement, there are generally no strict rules governing the educational or certification background for medical assistants. Many students choose to make use of medical assistant programs that focus on preparing them to receive their CMA. These programs may include 1-2 years of classroom instruction, along with significant time spent on practice exams and practical education.

Where Can You Go?

Medical assisting can be a rewarding field, but for many, it is a stepping stone to even better opportunities. By working as a medical assistant, you will gain valuable experience in a variety of clinical settings. While medical assistants were once found mostly in smaller offices, opportunities now exist for assistants in hospitals, labs, and a range of other healthcare environments. Many people begin their careers in these positions but ultimately use their experience to advance to healthcare administration or even as a headstart into a medical assistant to RN bridge program. Whatever your healthcare career goals happen to be, medical assisting is likely to offer valuable experience for the road ahead.

To learn more about becoming a medical assistant, contact a medical assistant program in your area.