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Education & Preparation

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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.

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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.

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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  

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Copyright© 2008 Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth

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