How to Become a Clinical Medical Assistant
Healthcare facilities are very complex and require a variety of support staff for effective and efficient function. Clinical medical assistants are trained medical staff that performs a variety of tasks to assist doctors and other healthcare professionals.
What does a clinical medical assistant do?
Clinical medical assistants perform many different types of duties such as obtaining patient medical histories, taking and recording vital signs, preparing patients for procedures and examinations, explaining procedures, and helping physicians perform treatments. They also collect and prepare specimens for laboratory testing. Clinical medical assistants must make sure treatment and examination rooms and equipment are clean, sterile, and organized. They make sure examination rooms are prepared for procedures. They also stock the required supplies and dispose of contaminated materials. Sometimes clinical medical provide instruction to patients regarding medications, nutrition, and follow-up treatment. They also prepare and administer medications and authorize medication refills.
What kind of training does a clinical medical assistant need?
Clinical medical assistants must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer candidates with some type of formal training. Some clinical medical assistants learn their skills through on the job training, but most complete diploma or associate degree programs. Many community colleges and vocational and technical schools offer programs in clinical medical assisting. Prospective clinical medical assistants typically complete courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical law, accounting, recordkeeping and processing insurance. Some aspiring clinical medical assistants complete internships or volunteer opportunities to gain practical experience in the field. Many clinical medical assistants gain professional certification to remain competitive in the field. The Association of Medical Technologists and the American Association of Medical Assistant award a variety of certifications.
What are the prospects for a career as a clinical medical assistant?
Employment of clinical medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 34% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The expansion of healthcare industry and technological advances will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be excellent, especially for clinical medical assistants with advanced education and extensive experience. Some job openings will result from the need to replace clinical medical assistants that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do clinical medical assistants make?
As of January 2010, the average annual salary for clinical medical assistants is $44,000; average annual clinical medical assistant salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a clinical medical assistant is an excellent choice with strong interest in the medical field and performing a variety of clinical assistance procedures. Clinical medical assistants must have a solid understanding of a variety of clinical procedures. Patience, manual dexterity, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Clinical medical assistants must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to help patients feel at ease. They must also be able to explain instructions to patients.