If you are interested in the healthcare field and love all things about pregnancy and babies, becoming an OB-GYN medical assistant might be a good fit for you.
Medical assistants work alongside doctors to take care of patients. They perform both clinical tasks and administrative duties in doctors offices and clinics.
OB-GYN medical assistants specifically work in women’s healthcare, assisting with prenatal checkups and helping with bedside procedures like IUD insertions.
This guide will go over everything you need to know about OB-GYN medical assistants, including what they do, where they work, average salary, and how to become one.
What is an OB-GYN Medical Assistant?
OB-GYN stands for obstetric and gynecology. Obstetrics includes care during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy childbirth, and postpartum. Gynecology covers all women's health issues, especially those involving reproductive organs.
OB-GYN medical assistants usually work in women's health clinics or outpatient centers.
What Are the Duties of an OB-GYN Medical Assistant?
An OB-GYN medical assistant takes care of all regular medical assistant duties and a few other specialized tasks.
Some administrative duties of OB-GYN medical assistants include:
- Answering phone calls. Medical assistants are responsible for answering phone calls and relaying questions to the physician in a timely manner. Many pregnant women call their obstetricians with questions frequently throughout their pregnancies. Medical assistants need to relay the questions to the providers and be on the alert for emergency situations.
- Scheduling appointments. Medical assistants are often responsible for helping patients schedule appointments and making sure the office stays on schedule.
- Greeting patients. A medical assistant is usually the first person a patient will see when they come in for their appointment. Medical assistants need to make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable.
- Ordering supplies. Medical assistants can help the office by keeping track of inventory and reordering supplies as needed. This might include both medical supplies like bandages and syringes as well as office supplies like pens and paper.
Some clinical duties of OB-GYN medical assistants include:
- Assisting with procedures. Medical assistants can help physicians with procedures like pap smears and IUD insertions.
- Assisting with examinations. Since many OB-GYN appointments involve examinations and procedures involving sensitive areas of the body, a medical assistant can act as a second person in the room to help the patient and physician feel more comfortable during the exam.
- Measuring vital signs. Vital signs include heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. Medical assistants must take and record accurate vital signs so that patients get the care they need.
- Recording weight and growth patterns. Measuring weight and belly size are important parts of making sure a pregnant mother and her baby stay healthy.
- Collecting samples. Medical assistants often have to collect urine, blood, and stool samples to be sent to a laboratory for testing. Some tests, like pregnancy tests, might be performed by the medical assistant.
Where Do OB-GYN Medical Assistants Work?
OB-GYN medical assistants usually work in women’s health clinics or outpatient centers. They may choose to work in large hospital clinics, or smaller, private practice offices. Some work in community health clinics that help underserved populations.
OB-GYN medical assistants are in high demand all over the country. Medical assistants can find work in both rural communities and big cities.
Skills Required to Be an OB-GYN Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants have an important role as a member of the healthcare team. There are certain skills that an OB-GYN medical assistant has to have in order to help safely care for patients on top of standard medical assistant skills.
- Medical vocabulary. It is important for a medical assistant to have at least a basic understanding of medical terminology. This will help them communicate with doctors, understand billing for procedures, and be able to help educate patients.
- Compassion. Anyone working in the healthcare field needs to be compassionate and empathetic. if you work as an OB-GYN medical assistant, you might be dealing with a lot of sensitive topics such as sexual health. It is important that you can help your patients feel comfortable and safe during their visits.
- Computer skills. Working as a medical assistant requires that you have at least basic computer skills. You will need to document in an electronic health record, organize billing and office schedules, and keep track of procedures on whatever computer program your office or clinic uses.
- Dexterity. Medical assistants work side-by-side with a doctor to perform office procedures. They often have to handle delicate instruments and know how to keep their hands sterile during procedures.
- Critical thinking. Critical thinking skills are essential for anyone working in healthcare. OB-GYN medical assistants need to understand what to look for in cases of emergencies and know how to address problems right away. Critical thinking skills are essential for anyone working in healthcare.
- Phlebotomy skills. Many patients in OB-GYN clinics need their blood drawn. Blood draws are almost always the responsibility of the medical assistant. They need to know how to collect blood samples without injuring the patient or causing infection and then handle the sample correctly to avoid contamination. Taking a phlebotomy course may help you get a job as a OB-GYN medical assistant.
- Organization. Since medical assistants see many patients during the day and are responsible for both clinical and administrative tasks, they have to be extremely organized with great time-management skills.
- Hard working. Medical assisting is a demanding job where you'll spend most of your day on your feet caring for patients one after the other. However, it is also very rewarding, and you'll go home everyday knowing that you made a difference.
OB-GYN Medical Assistant Salaries & Job Outlook
OB-GYN medical assistants salaries fall within the national average for all types of medical assistants. Pay may be slightly higher or lower depending on the state.
National job outlook statistics from the BLS show that medical assisting is a rapidly growing field with job opportunities expected to increase by as much as 16% between 2021 and 2031.
How to Become an OB-GYN Medical Assistant
Luckily, there are education requirements for medical assistants. If becoming an OB-GYN medical assistant interests you, you can take the following steps to get started.
- Obtain your high school diploma or GED. Before you can work as a medical assistant, you'll need to complete high school or earn a GED. Medical assistant training programs also require a GED or high school diploma before you can get started.
- Decide if you want to become certified. While not a requirement, getting a certification for medical assisting will make you a more valuable employee and more likely to get hired.
- Choose a training program. If you do decide to get your certification, you'll need to decide if you want to earn a medical assisting degree or just the certificate. Medical assistant certificate programs can be completed online or in person in as little as four months. Degree programs are generally much more expensive and take up to two years to complete.
- Finish your education and training. After you complete your certification program, you will take a certification exam to show what you have learned. If you pass your exam, you will receive your certificate. You may also want to take extra courses like phlebotomy and medical billing.
- Apply for jobs. With medical assistants in such high demand, there are usually hundreds or thousands of job postings. You can look on job search sites like Indeed or contact a local office directly.
- Start your career. Once you are hired, you'll be ready to start a rewarding career as an OB-GYN medical assistant. As you work, you may choose to advance your career by becoming an office manager, lead medical assistant, or even a medical assisting instructor.
See Other Medical Assistant Specialties
Check out some of our other guides on medical assistant specialties to see if a different one may be right for you: