Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.*
Medical Assistant Salaries
The median annual wage for medical assistants is $29,370. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. In this case, the top 10 percent earned more than $42,760 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,540.*
Most medical assistants work full time. Some work evenings or weekends to cover shifts in medical facilities that are always open.
Medical Assistant Duties
An increasing number of group practices, clinics and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly medical assistants, to do both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry. In addition, federal health legislation will expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance, increasing patient access to medical care.*
Here are just a few responsibilities and duties medical assistants have:
- Assist with physical examinations
- Administer injections
- Perform EKGS, venipuncture and routine tests
- Prepare exam room instruments
- Sterilize and maintain medical equipment
- Record vital signs and medical histories
- Explain treatment procedures to patients and families
Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate.* It takes a specific set of skills and a working knowledge of medical terminology to work in the healthcare field. Education and training may help someone who wants to work as a medical assistant stand out from other candidates.
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, published December 17, 2015. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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