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    Medical Assistant

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    A Michigan Jobs & Career Portal service.

    Job Duties

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    Education & Preparation

    Job Openings & Entry Method

    Earnings & Advancement

    Employment & Outlook

     

    Sources of Additional Information

    Medical Assistants, under the direction of a physician, provide various medical care and related services. They may assist physicians examining patients and/or handle duties involving office management.


    JOB DUTIES 

    Medical Assistants may:

    Prepare treatment rooms for the examination of patients

    Drape patients with a covering and position instruments and equipment

    Hand instruments and supplies to physicians

    Interview, receive, instruct, reassure, and comfort patients

    Check and record the patient's pulse, blood pressure, temperature, weight, height, and other medical history data

    Operate equipment such as EKG and X-ray machines to administer diagnostic tests

    Administer injections and medications and collect blood samples and other specimens

    Assist with specific laboratory procedures and some surgical procedures using proper aseptic techniques

    Arrange hospital admissions and laboratory procedures as requested by the physician

    Instruct patients in the use of diet medication and other treatment

    Schedule appointments, receive money for bills, keep medical and financial records, complete insurance forms, prepare supply inventories, perform general secretarial tasks as well as assist with general office management

    Perform medical transcription

    Prepare inventories of office, medical, and laboratory supplies to determine items to be stocked

    Deal with representatives from various health-related businesses

    Click here  to view a brief video.

    The machines, tools, equipment, and work aids used may include:

    * Hypodermic equipment

    * Medical laboratory equipment

    * X-ray equipment

    * Electrocardiograph (EKG) machines

    * Facsimile machines

    * Records, reports, manuals and forms

    * Surgical instruments

    * Electroencephalograph (EEG) machines

    * Computers (with Internet access)

    * Oxygen, cardio-pulmonary and respiratory equipment

    * Sphygmomanometer (blood pressure apparatus)


    OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES

    079.362-010 MEDICAL ASSISTANTS, under the direction of a physician, provide various medical care and related services. They may assist physicians examining patients and/or handle duties involving office management.

    Medical Assistants' duties may be mostly clinical or administrative,  but they usually involve both, depending on the Medical Assistants' training and the needs of the employer.

    Some Medical Assistants may be designated as Chiropractic Assistants, Podiatric Assistants, or Morgue Attendants depending on their specific training.

    In addition to learning about these specialties, you may also find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration Scripts:

    164 CLINICAL LABORATORY WORKER

    172 LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE

    173 MEDICAL RECORDS PERSONNEL

    316 SURGICAL TECHNICIAN

    317 VETERINARY ASSISTANT

    414 PHYS. THERAPIST ASSIST./AIDE

    419 OCC. THERAPY ASSIST. & AIDE


    WORKING CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

    Medical Assistants work under the supervision and direction of licensed doctors of medicine or osteopathy. They may work alone or with other health personnel. They may also supervise other staff, such as medical secretaries and clerks.

    Most Medical Assistants work in offices which are clean, well lighted, and well equipped. Others work in hospitals, industrial plants, schools, and research and medical laboratories where conditions vary. They may be exposed to infection, communicable diseases, and contaminated material.

    Medical Assistants working in a private practice work the same hours as the physician. They may be on call and work irregular hours to provide the physician with assistance as needed. In other locations, Medical Assistants may work 7 to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

    Assistants may be required to travel considerable distances in rural areas. Those employed by commercial medical laboratories travel frequently between medical care facilities to draw blood, take EKG's, and perform other duties. They might be reimbursed for travel expenses.

    Medical Assistants may belong to professional associations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists, which represent graduates as well as current students of approved Medical Assistant programs. Association members must pay periodic dues.

    You Should Prefer:

    • Activities of a scientific or technical nature
    • Activities which involve helping and working with people
    • Activities which involve direct personal contact

     

    You Should Be Able To:

    • Use tact and patience with people
    • Maintain the confidentiality of medical information
    • Perform a variety of duties which may change often
    • Repeat activities according to a routine procedure
    • Work quickly/well under pressure in critical or unexpected situations
    • Work within precise limits or standards of accuracy
    • Deal with people beyond giving and receiving instructions
    • Rate information using personal judgment and measurable standards

    Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve:

    A patient pays his or her bill of $77 with a $100 bill. How much change should the patient receive?

    Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend:

    Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when your body lacks the iron needed to manufacture hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells.

    Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce:

    You should be able to write a report explaining the results of any tests that you may have administered.

    Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate:

    You should be able to decide the best way to administer medication to a patient that is unwilling to take it.

    Although certification is not mandatory for Medical Assistants in Michigan, many employers require it for employment. There are 2 certifying organizations: The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT). Both the AAMA and the AMT require applicants for certification to successfully complete certification exams. In order to qualify for the examinations, applicants must have completed an approved program of study or have sufficient training and work experience. The AAMA offers Medical Assistant Certification (CMA). The AMT certifies Medical Assistants as Registered Medical Assistants (RMA).

    EDUCATION AND PREPARATION OPPORTUNITIES

    NOTE: On-The-Job Training provided by the employer or a High School Diploma or Equivalent or a High School Diploma with specific Vocational Education Classes or a Certificate (program of up to one year of study beyond High School) or an Associate Degree (two years of study beyond High School) may qualify a person for this occupation.

    The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in the Career Exploration Script:

    ***SCHOOL SUBJECTS***

    0700 CAREERS , 0900 COMMUNICATIONS , 1000 COMPUTERS , 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS , 2200 MATH , 2900 SCIENCE , 3300 TECHNOLOGY

    ***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS***

    HEALTH OCCUPATIONS EDUCATION

    Approved vocational education programs in Health Occupations Education prepare students for miscellaneous occupations in the health field. Instruction includes assisting medical personnel by providing institutional support functions in areas such as pharmaceuticals, central supply, medical records, and the admission and discharge of patients.

    The following courses may be required for completion of this program:

    HEALTH CLUSTER

    High school students should consult their guidance office for more information about the specific requirements of this program at their school or area vocational education center.

    Students should obtain the local Education and Training Opportunitiesfor information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center.


    ***POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS***

    099 MEDICAL ASSISTANT TRAINING

    Medical Assistant Training programs provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed for employment assisting physicians. Areas of assistance include providing services to patients, clinical laboratory work, and office management.

    Courses within this program will vary from school to school but may include:

    Microbiology

    Business Machines

    Anatomy & Physiology

    Medical Insurance

    Business Communication

    Records Management

    Medical Terminology

    Medical Accounting

    Medical Laboratory

    Office Management

    Intermediate Typing

    Office Externship

    Medical Law & Ethics

    First Aid & CPR

    Clinical and Diagnostic Procedures

                      Search for a College and/or Instructional Program

    ***APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES***

    Although this occupation has apprenticeship programs available in Michigan, they are limited in number. See the Sources Of Additional Information at the end of this Career Exploration Script for name, address and phone number of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

    You will also find a more extensive list of information sources in the "What Is An Apprenticeship?" document found under the Career Exploration Script Supports Menu Items.

    ***MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAMS***

    Please check the Military website at http://www.todaysmilitary.com

    MEDICAL LABORATORY TECHNICIANS

    Medical laboratories are an important part of the military health care system. The staffs of medical laboratories perform clinical tests required to detect and identify diseases in patients. Medical service technicians conduct tests on the tissue, blood, and body fluids of medical patients.

    What They Do

    Medical service technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

    • Examine or treat emergency or battlefield patients
       
    • Use lab equipment to analyze specimens (samples) of tissue, blood, and body fluids
    • Examine blood and bone marrow under microscopes
    • Test specimens for bacteria or viruses
    • Draw blood from patients
    • Assist in collecting specimens at autopsies (medical examinations of the dead)
    • Record and file results of laboratory tests

     

    Training Provided

    Job training consists of classroom and on-the-job instruction, including practice in testing specimens. Training length varies depending on specialty. Course content typically includes:

    • Basic nursing care
       
    • Medical laboratory procedures
    • Study of human parasites and diseases
       
    • Minor surgical procedures
    • Laboratory administration and record keeping

     

    Helpful Attributes

    Helpful school subjects include biology, chemistry, and algebra. Helpful attributes include:

    • Interest in scientific and technical work
    • Ability to follow detailed procedures precisely

     

    Physical Demands

    Normal color vision is required to work with colored chemicals and dyes.

    Work Environment

    Medical laboratory technicians work in medical centers, clinics, and hospitals on land or aboard ships.

    Civilian Counterparts

    Civilian medical laboratory technicians usually work for privately owned laboratories, hospitals, clinics, or research institutions. They perform duties similar to military medical laboratory technicians.

    Opportunities

    After job training, technicians perform routine laboratory tests under close supervision. With experience, they do more complex testing and analysis and work more independently. After demonstrating job proficiency, medical laboratory technicians help train new technicians and supervise laboratory personnel. In time, they may advance to laboratory management positions. 

      E-Learning Courses and Programs


    OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPERIENCE AND METHODS OF ENTRY

    Experience may be gained through summer, and part-time work in doctors' offices, health clinics, and hospitals. Secondary vocational education programs in medical office cluster and postsecondary programs in medical assistant training may offer co-op opportunities for practical experience. Training and work experience are also available in military service. 

    School-to-Work opportunities include:

    informal apprenticeships

    mentorships

    job shadowing experiences

    touring a local Medical Assistant employer

    internships

    volunteer work with a Medical Assistant employer

    community service work with an agency

    The most common method of entry is direct application to physicians and other employers. Assistance in locating a job may be available from school placement offices, professional associations (AAMA and AMT), and local offices of the Michigan Works!.  Newspaper want ads might list open positions in medical assisting. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as:

    Healthvault.com

    Healthcaresource.com

    Health Career Web

    Medical Assisting Career

    Michigan Jobs & Career Portal  

    Michigan Talent Bank

    Simplyhired.com

    Indeed | one search. all jobs.

    CareerBuilder

    You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services.  

    EARNINGS AND ADVANCEMENT

    Earnings of Medical Assitants vary with their training and experience, the employer, and the size and geographic location of the practice. Those employed in urban areas generally earn more than those employed in other areas.

    In Michigan, the hourly wages (2007) of Medical Assistants who were employed by hospitals were:

    Medical Office Assistants

    Middle Range

    Average

    Statewide

    $11.75 - $14.19

    $13.20

    East Central

    $9.93 - $12.18

    $11.17

    In 2007, the Michigan hourly wages for Medical Assistants working in laboratories were:

    Laboratory Assistants

    Middle Range

    Average

    Statewide

    $11.70 - $14.59

    $13.64

    West Central

    $11.40 - $15.32

         --

    The median hourly earnings of "all" worker in the U.S. were $17.38 in 2007. Medical Assistants employed by the State of Michigan at correctional facilities had hourly wages ranging from $14.93 to $22.87 in early 2008.

    The 2006 graduates of Michigan vocational education programs working in jobs related to this occupation had a beginning average hourly wage of $9.13 in 2007.

    Most Medical Assistants are paid uniform allowances in addition to their salaries. Those working in hospitals may receive shift and on-call premiums. Some employed in doctors' offices may receive holiday bonuses and/or profit sharing.

    Depending on the employer, the fringe benefits received may include paid vacations, life, accident, disability and accident insurance, and a retirement plan. Those employed in hospitals may also receive dental and optical coverage.

    Advancement depends upon training, experience, certification or registration, supervisory ability, and the size of the practice. In small medical practices, advancement is usually in the form of assuming increased duties with corresponding pay increases. In larger facilities, Medical Assistants may be promoted to the office supervisor. With additional training, they may move into other allied health occupations, such as Physician's Assistant.

    [back to top]

    EMPLOYMENT AND OUTLOOK

    About 416,900 Medical Assistants were employed nationally in 2006. Employment for Medical Assistants is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. The industry distribution for Medical Assistants looked like this:

    NAICS Code

    NAICS Industry Title

    %

    Employed

    621100

    Offices of physicians

    61.7

    622000

    Hospitals, public and private

    12.3

    621300

    Office of other health practitioners

    11.4

    621400

    Outpatient care centers

    4.4

    610000

    Educational services, public and private

    1.7

    560000

    Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services

    1.5

    940000

    State and local government

    1.5

    --

    Others

    5.5

    To find employers, click Employer/Business Locator .

    Because of the increasing complexity of medical practices, physicians delegate more duties to Medical Assistants. Opportunities are best for Medical Assistants capable of handling clerical, bookkeeping, and laboratory activities in addition to their medical duties.

    The rapid growth in HMOs and outpatient facilities, such as urgent care centers and surgical centers, will help spur demand for medical assistants.

    About 14,375 Medical Assistants are employed in Michigan. Most work in urban areas. Most work for physicians in single or group practice. Others work for clinics, hospitals, HMOs, nursing homes, schools, commercial medical laboratories, and government agencies.

    Employment of Medical Assistants in Michigan is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. An average of 760 annual openings is expected, with 490 due to growth and 270 due to replacement of those who retire, die, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Additional openings will occur as some Medical Assistants transfer to other areas. Since the number of individuals completing training programs in this field is expected to be greater than the projected job openings, Medical Assistants who are certified will have an added advantage.

    Demand for Medical Assistants will be high because of a growing and aging population, new laws providing for expanded health care services, extended health care insurance plans, and increasing public awareness for good health maintenance. Because of their expanded job duties, Medical Assistants who are flexible in handling both administrative and clinical duties will benefit the most.

    MICHIGAN EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK TO 2014

    EMPLOYMENT REGION

    NUMBER EMPLOYED

    PERCENT GROWTH

    PROJECTED YEARLY JOB OPENINGS

    Michigan - Statewide

    14,375

    34.1

    760

    Ann Arbor Area

    830

    31.9

    42

    Battle Creek Area

    195

    34.5

    10

    Benton Harbor Area

    155

    28.0

    7

    Central Michigan

    260

    31.5

    13

    Detroit Area

    6,810

    36.4

    374

    East Central Michigan

    110

    44.6

    7

    Flint Area

    720

    39.1

    41

    Grand Rapids Area

    1,530

    41.7

    92

    Jackson Area

    370

    38.8

    21

    Kalamazoo Area

    515

    24.2

    22

    Lansing MSA

    745

    43.4

    46

    Muskegon Area

    555

    49.0

    38

    Northeast Lower Peninsula

    235

    39.7

    14

    Northwest Lower Peninsula

    320

    44.7

    20

    Saginaw Area

    500

    43.2

    31

    Thumb Area

    80

    26.6

    4

    Upper Peninsula

    180

    21.3

    7

    West Central Michigan

    135

    35.0

    7

    *Note: Area may not add up to statewide total due to rounding, sampling, or statistical errors, and/or confidentiality issues.

    [back to top]

    SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    Printed Occupational information is available upon written request from the sources below.

    U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
    State Director's Office
    315 West Allegan
    Lansing, MI 48933
    517) 377-1746
    American Medical Technologists
    10700 West Higgins Road
    Suite 150
    Rosemont, IL 60018
    (847) 823-5169
    American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
    20 North Wacker Drive
    Suite 1575
    Chicago, IL 60606
    (312) 889-1500
    American Registry of Medical Assistants (ARMA) 
    69 Southwick Road, Suite A
    Westfield, MA 01805
    (413) 562-7336
    American Association of Podiatric Medical Assistants
    2124 South Austin Blvd.
    Cicero, IL 60804
    (888) 882-7762 
    Michigan State Medical Society 
    120 West Saginaw Street
    East Lansing, MI 48823
    (517) 337-1351
    Michigan Jobs and Career Portal  

    [back to top]

    Copyright© 2008 Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth

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