Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical labours to maintain the offices of doctors, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running efficiently. They should not be confused with physician assistants, who inspect, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct control of a physician.

How to become a medical Assistant

To become a medical assistant, students need to complete high school with courses in biology, physical science, office management, communications, and human relations. Medical assistant training programs are offered by community colleges and for-profit technical training schools. They possibly will take between six months and two years to complete.

Some medical assistants are educated on the job, but many finish 1 or 2 years in programs of vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, or community and junior colleges.

Nature of the work

Medical assistants help doctors and nurses giving patient care. They schedule appointments; take blood pressures, respirations, temperatures; and make other routine patient pre-examining procedures. Sometimes they help with office and clerical duties. Medical assistants work in hospitals, clinics, and private physician offices.

The tasks of medical assistants diverge from office to office, depending on the place and size of the practice and the practitioner´s specialty. In small practices, medical assistants frequently are "generalists", handling both administrative and clinical tasks and reporting directly to an office manager, doctor, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices have a tendency to specialize in a particular area, under the control of department administrators.

Medical assistants make many administrative tasks, in which includes:
  • Answering telephones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patient's medical records
  • Filling out insurance forms
  • Correspondence
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admission
  • Handling billing and bookkeeping


The annual salary for medical assistants goes from $17,000 to $28,000.