The medical assistant job description is diverse and varied, and the specific job duties will depend on an individual’s education, experience, and whether or not they have an area of expertise. While most career training will encompass the various aspects of the medical assistant duties, the overall medical assistant job description breaks down into two main categories:
- Clinical Medical Assisting
- Administrative Medical Assisting
While each facet of the medical assisting may seem completely removed from one another, when combined they paint a vivid picture of myriad of tasks expected of today’s medical assistant. It’s not uncommon (especially in smaller facilities and practices) to find a medical assistant job description to involve both administrative and clinical medical assisting duties.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
After completing a formal education program, prospective medical assistants will have several options when it comes to choosing a career path. Most importantly, there are two different types of medical assistants, each with a different medical assistant job description.
Administrative Medical Assistant
The medical assistant duties for an individual in an administrative setting will include several clerical tasks. For example, an administrative medical assistant may do the following:
- fill out insurance forms
- schedule appointments
- answer phone calls
- organize patient records
The administrative medical assistant job description applies to assistants that work in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other types of healthcare environments. However, assistants in a hospital might be responsible for overseeing one or two specific aspects of a department, while an assistant working in a private practice may have more management responsibilities.
Clinical Medical Assistant
The medical assistant job description for a clinical assistant is generally more diverse than that of an administrative assistant. The specific duties of a clinical medical assistant are determined by State law, which defines the tasks the assistant may perform in the absence of a physician. A clinical medical assistant is typically allowed to do the following:
- examine patients and administer medication
- record the vital signs of a patient and even create a medical record
- performing laboratory tests
- taking X-Rays
- removing sutures
- dressing wounds
- authorizing prescriptions.
However, some employers may require at least an associates degree for a clinical medical assisting job, as the clinical medical assistant job description involves directly caring for and interacting with patients. Although many of these tasks must be performed under the direct supervision of a physician, clinical medical assistants are often given more leeway due to their additional training and certification.
Specialized Medical Assistants
The medical assistant job description also depends on additional factors like whether or not an individual chooses to pursue a specialized career. With further education, some medical assistants may work in a more focused area such as pediatrics or optometry. While this may require more time and training, it can result in a higher salary and greater job mobility. Most education programs offer classes in some of the specialized areas of the healthcare industry.