A medical assistant is a healthcare worker that performs both clinical and administrative tasks. They play an essential role in the healthcare system.
One common question that people have is whether medical assistants can give injections or shots to patients.
The short answer is that, yes, medical assistants can typically give shots and injections. However, some states have additional requirements and restrictions for this.
This guide will go over states where medical assistants can give injections and workplace environments where medical assistants would be likely to give injections.
Where Medical Assistants Can Give Injections & Shots
Each state outlines its own scope of practice for medical assistants which determines what medical assistants are allowed to do. These are put into place to ensure that patients receive safe and effective care that is appropriate to the provider’s level of training.
In most states, giving injections falls within the scope of practice for medical assistants. This means that other staff, such as physicians, can delegate these tasks to them.
However, some states have specific guidelines or restrictions on whether or not medical assistants can give injections.
It is important to note that in this article, injections refers to vaccinations and allergy shots. It does not refer to IV procedures. In most states, medical assistants are allowed to draw blood without being certified or licensed.
In addition, checking your state’s most recent guidelines is the best way to stay up to date on what duties fall within your scope of practice.
The following states have regulations that restrict medical assistants from giving shots or injections:
- California – In order to give injections, a medical assistant needs to satisfy certain training requirements. They must have successfully performed 10 of each of the following kinds of injections: intramuscular, subcutaneous, intradermal, skin tests, skin punctures, and venipuncture. In addition, they must have satisfied the required number of training hours for the following: (1) Giving injections and performing skin tests (10 hours), (2) Venipuncture (10 hours), (3) Administering medication via inhalation route (10 hours)
- Connecticut – A medical assistant needs to have completed at least 24 hours of classroom training and at least 8 hours of training on administering vaccines.
- New Jersey – A medical assistant needs to hold a certification in order to give injections. You can learn more about medical assistant certifications here.
- Massachusetts – In order to give injections, a medical assistant needs to have completed an accredited medical assistant training program.
- Rhode Island – Medical assistants can give vaccinations if they are certified, registered, or have demonstrated competency.
- Washington – In order to work in Washington, you need to be certified and hold a medical assistant license from the Washington State Department of Health. If those requirements are met, they can give injections.
The following states have no restrictions on medical assistants giving injections or shots:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What to Do if You Don’t Want to Give Injections as a Medical Assistant
There are many reasons why a medical assistant would not want to give injections.
Some examples include not feeling comfortable, not having enough training, or just not being interested in doing so.
Fortunately, because medical assistants perform a wide variety of tasks and have a variety of skills, it is possible to find a position where you would not need to give injections. Injections are just one of the many tasks that are often delegated to medical assistants.
When applying for a job, check the requirements and job description to see what kinds of tasks are listed. In addition, ask about what other kinds of clinical tasks you would be expected to perform and if you would need to give injections to patients.
One option is to work as an administrative medical assistant, where your duties would primarily include scheduling appointments, working with patient insurance, and maintaining patient records.
Another option is to find a position in a medical assistant specialty where injections are not frequently performed. The next section will go into what specialties to steer clear of if you are not interested in giving injections.
Medical Assistant Specialties Likely to Have to Give Shots & Injections
The daily job duties of a medical assistant may vary slightly depending on what specialty they work in.
For example, medical assistants who work in certain departments such as allergy or primary care may need to give injections more than with other specialties.
- Allergy – The allergy department is involved in diagnosing, managing, and treating hypersensitivity reactions. In an allergy department, a medical assistant may need to perform injections as part of a skin test for allergic reactions.
- Primary care – Primary care is often involved with making sure that patients are taking care of their general health. One way to prevent illness is by getting vaccinated. As a result, medical assistants working in primary care are more likely to have to perform vaccinations.
Medical Assistant Specialties Unlikely to Have to Give Shots & Injections
Some specialties that are less likely to have medical assistants give injections include gastroenterology, ENT, and neurology.
- Gastroenterology – This specialty treats patients with disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the nature of the specialty, medical assistants that work in this department are not likely to have to perform any injections.
- ENT – Otolaryngology, or ENT, works with disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Medical assistants working in this department typically would not perform any injections on patients.
- Neurology – This specialty deals with disorders of the nervous system. In this field, injections are not as commonplace. As a result, medical assistants that work in this department are not likely to perform injections.
Other Medical Assistant Responsibilities Guides
- Can Medical Assistants Draw Blood?
- Can Medical Assistants Call in Prescriptions & Refills?
- Medical Assistant vs. Phlebotomist
- Deciding Whether You Would Make a Good Medical Assistant
- Medical Assistant vs Medical Administrative Assistant
- Skills Required to Be a Medical Assistant
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