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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 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
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The machines, tools, equipment, and work aids used may include:
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:
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:
You Should Be Able To:
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).
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:
***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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
Helpful school subjects include biology, chemistry, and algebra. Helpful attributes include:
Normal color vision is required to work with colored chemicals and dyes.
Medical laboratory technicians work in medical centers, clinics, and hospitals on land or aboard ships.
Civilian medical laboratory technicians usually work for privately owned laboratories, hospitals, clinics, or research institutions. They perform duties similar to military medical laboratory technicians.
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.
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:
job shadowing experiences
touring a local Medical Assistant employer
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:
You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services.
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:
In 2007, the Michigan hourly wages for Medical Assistants working in laboratories were:
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.
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:
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
Printed Occupational information is available upon written request from the sources below.
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