Nature of Work
Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians and other health practitioners. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds of tasks by handling both administrative and clinical duties. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area. Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.
Administrative medical assistants update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform administrative tasks such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, maintaining electronic medical records, and handling billing and bookkeeping. Clinical medical assistants have various duties, depending on state law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations.
Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. As directed by a physician, they might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications, authorize drug refills, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.
Medical assistants held about 560,800 jobs in 2012. More than half worked in physicians' offices. Employment opportunities are projected to increase by 20 percent from 2012 through 2022.
Credentials You Can Earn
The Higher Education Act requires all colleges and universities to notify students and prospective students of the all program costs for which they will be responsible. Students will be responsible for the following expenses:
- Nonrefundable application fee ($25)
- Program Placement Examination ($75)
Outside Vendor Fees Prior to Beginning MAST Courses
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification ($40 unless obtained in ALHS 1040)
- Hepatitis B Immunization ($200)
- Mumps, Measles, Rubella Immunizations ($25)
- Varicella Immunization ($25)
- Tetanus Shot ($25)
- Tuberculosis Skin Test ($25)
- Physical Examination (Approximately $100)
- Uniforms (Approximately $250)
- Watch with Second Hand (Approximately $40)
- Stethoscope (Approximately $25)
- Tuition ($89 per credit hour)
- Accident Insurance Fee ($4 per term)
- Campus Supply Fee ($40 per term)
- Instruction Fee ($55 per term)
- Parking Fee ($20 per term)
- Campus Safety Fee ($25 per term)
- Registration Fee ($50 per term)
- Student Activity Fee ($30 per term)
- Technology Fee ($105 per term)
Throughout the Program
- Possible Background Checks and Drug Screenings
- Textbooks (Approximately $500)
- Supply Fee (Varies — See course descriptions for exact amount)
Are you ready to apply?