Medical Assistant

Being the first point of contact for patients, medical assistants play a vital role in the well functioning of any medical institution. Regardless if they are in front of the office greeting the patients, or backstage organizing and managing office related issues, medical assistants help maintain order in the world of medicine.

Job Overview

A medical assistant can be involved in numerous activities related to the office. They act as mediators between patients and offices, and they work behind the scenes and help in coordinating referrals, lab test reviews and ensure that all aspects and functions of a medical office are working as they should.

Especially in smaller offices, a hard working medical assistant who has obtained the trust of a doctor due to his integrity and good judgment can play a part in various roles. Small offices are not the only ones who are in need of medical assistants, as even big hospitals and other medical centers have to rely on medical assistants in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly. No matter the size of the office, a medical assistant is a vital part of it, and he can make the difference when it comes to the patient’s experience and it can range from mundane to superlative.

Medical assistants are often employed in doctor’s offices, hospitals, health care centers and even government agencies where they fill in various roles. A typical medical assistant will have to greet patients and interact with people throughout the day. Medical assistants are the mediators between doctors, patients, nurses and other staff that is part of the team. Smaller practices might attribute many more responsibilities to medical assistants such as taking patients to exam rooms or taking their blood pressure and measuring their weight.

Because of the retirement of the baby boom generation and the increase of the elder generation, medical assistant positions are seeing a constant rise. Due to the switch of many medical practices to electronic records, the opportunity for medical assistants who have excellent computer skills is great.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary in may 2011 was $32,430. About half of the medical assistants received wages between $25,660 and $37,660, while the top salaries reached $55,000 per year. The more education and experience a medical assistant has, the more are the opportunities for higher wages and better positions. The employers who paid the highest salaries were doctor’s offices and hospitals.


A high school or equivalent diploma is enough in order to qualify for the entry level positions as a medical assistant, and most offices offer training on the job. Although there is no formal training required and one can get hired as a medical assistant with just a high school diploma, there are many offices which prefer to employ medical assistants who have associate degrees or training in vocational schools.

In order to increase the chances of employment and to open the way to advancement, a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs-accredited training program should be taken in order to qualify as a certified medical administrative assistant.

Reviews & Advice

People aspiring for a medical assistant position should have strong communication skills and be very sociable, since the will be interacting with patients and different staff members all day. Also, the person should be well organized and be capable of multi tasking.

Although getting hired as a medical assistant is possible without former training, it is recommended to get an accredited certification in order to obtain a better position and to open the way to possible advancement.

A typical medical assistant will work 40 hours a week, although, depending on the situation, some might be required to work extra or night shifts. Although an entry-level position, medical assistants can advance and with proper training they can even become nurses.

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