Medical assistants are healthcare workers that usually work in doctors offices or clinics. They handle both basic patient care tasks and administrative tasks, helping the office run smoothly.
One specific type of medical assistant is a chiropractic assistant.
Chiropractic medicine focuses on the skeleton, nerves, and muscles and how they can impact overall health. It is often considered a type of alternative or holistic medicine. Chiropractors most commonly treat neck and back pain, but can also help with other types of pain, sleep problems, and gastrointestinal issues.
Chiropractic assistants help chiropractors care for patients, make appointments, and keep things organized.
This guide will go over exactly what chiropractic assistants do, how much they make, how to become one, and more.
What is a Chiropractic Assistant?
A chiropractic assistant works in a chiropractic office. They may receive special training to assist with massages, chiropractic adjustments, TENS unit treatments, and administrative work like scheduling appointments and checking patients in.
What Does a Chiropractic Assistant Do?
A chiropractic assistant does many of the same tasks as any other medical assistant, with the addition of a few special responsibilities. These responsibilities include:
- Scheduling appointments. Keeping the schedule organized is one of the chiropractic assistant's most important tasks. They can also send out appointment reminders and call previous clients to ensure that follow-up appointments aren’t missed.
- Greet & check patients in. The chiropractic assistant is often the first person the patient will see when they come into the building. They need to help make sure that each patient feels welcome and comfortable in the office.
- Clean & prepare rooms. Between each patient visit, rooms must be cleaned and sanitized, restocked, and organized for the next client.
- Measure vital signs. Though chiropractic assistants don’t measure vital signs as much as regular medical assistants, they may be required to from time to time. Vital signs include heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
- Keep accurate records. Medical assistants help keep medical records up to date including recording procedures and tracking prescription medication use.
- Assist with procedures. Medical assistants work closely with chiropractors to help keep patients safe and comfortable during their treatment sessions.
Where Do Chiropractic Assistants Work?
Chiropractic medical assistants are in high demand all over the country. Most chiropractic assistants work in a chiropractic office, and some may work alongside physical therapists or family practice offices. Most chiropractic offices are private practice offices.
Working in a chiropractic office means you’ll spend most of your day on your feet, helping patients, cleaning rooms, and organizing supplies. Most medical assistants work in a fast-paced environment and stay busy throughout the day.
Skills Required to Be a Chiropractic Assistant
- Compassion. The most common complaint of chiropractic patients is chronic pain. A chiropractic assistant needs to treat each patient with compassion and empathy as they help them try to improve their health.
- Computer Skills. Between scheduling appointments, documenting procedures, and working with billing and payments, medical assistants spend a lot of time working at the computer. Good computer skills are a must-have for any medical assistant.
- Organization. Since medical assistants will usually see a lot of different patients during the day, they need to be able to stay organized. Missing supplies or paperwork can cause huge problems for the entire office.
- Good Communication. Chiropractic assistants have to have good written and verbal communication skills. They will usually be in charge of answering phone calls and helping the chiropractor and his patients coordinate with each other. Chiropractic medical assistants have to be able to communicate well with both doctors and patients.
- Medical Terminology. It is good to have some basic medical terminology knowledge before you start working as a medical assistant. Knowing basic anatomy terms will help you understand your patients' needs and how to help the chiropractor treat his or her patients.
Chiropractic Assistant Salaries & Job Outlook
The national average for medical assistant salaries is $37,190 per year or $17.88 per hour. Of course, this varies based on experience and job location. For chiropractic assistants, the average is closer to $31,000 per year or $15 per hour.
Medical assisting has a great outlook. Job opportunities for medical assistants are expected to increase by 16% over the next 10 years. Chiropractic medical assistants can find jobs all over the United States as chiropractic offices are everywhere.
How to Become a Chiropractic Assistant
If you are interested in becoming a chiropractic assistant, you can become one quickly by following a few steps:
- Obtain your high school diploma or GED. You will need at least a high school diploma or GED before you can apply for a job or begin a medical assistant training program.
- Get the necessary training & education. While it is not always required, getting a medical assisting certification can help you get a job more quickly and help you feel more prepared to enter the workforce. Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and Nevada require chiropractic assistants to be certified.
- Look for jobs. After you have finished your training, you can look through job websites like Indeed or Glassdoor to find a chiropractic assisting job.
- Start your career. After you find a job that you think will work well for you, prepare well for your interview to make sure you land the job. Once you are hired, you’ll be ready to start a rewarding career as a chiropractic assistant.
Chiropractic Assistant Certification Options & Requirements
Chiropractic assistant courses teach about patient care, safety, ethics, infection control, and documentation.
Most chiropractic assistant programs require at least 25 hours of education and 300 hours of clinical experience working with a licensed chiropractor.
When you complete your courses and pass your exam, you will become a Certified Clinical Chiropractic Medical Assistant (CCCMA). Certifications must be renewed every 2 years, and renewal requires 6 hours of continuing education and a $35 fee.
Some states require chiropractic assistants to be certified, including Iowa, Maine, Maryland, and Nevada.
Even if you do not live in a state that requires certification, you might want to earn some kind of certification anyways, instead of a chiropractic-specific certification, you could choose to become a Certified Medical Assistant, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, or Registered Medical Assistant.
>> Read More: CMA vs CCMA vs RMA
Earning some kind of certification will prepare you to care for patients’ safely, understand basic medical terminology, and perform your job duties well.
In addition, certified medical assistants are generally preferred by most offices. If you are certified, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary and have more opportunities for promotions and raises in the future.