If you want to start a career in healthcare and would like to get started working right away, medical assisting might be the job for you. Medical assistants help physicians take care of patients by doing administrative and clinical work in a doctor's office or clinic.
A podiatric medical assistant is a medical assistant specifically working with feet. Besides doing common medical assisting tasks like scheduling appointments and taking vital signs, a podiatric medical assistant do special wound care and help with bedside surgical procedures.
This guide will go over everything you need to know about working as a podiatric medical assistant including responsibilities, average salary, how to become one, and more.
What is a Podiatric Medical Assistant?
A podiatric medical assistant will work in a podiatrist's office. This is an office that specializes in the care of feet. They can treat patients with conditions like hammer toe, bunions, diabetic wounds, or nail infections.
Medical assistants can work on both clinical and administrative tasks. They can assist medical doctors, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioners.
What Does a Podiatry Medical Assistant Do?
A podiatric medical assistant will take on many of the same duties of any other medical assistant, including administrative and clinical tasks. They also get to focus on a few specialized tasks regarding foot care.
Administrative responsibilities of a podiatric medical assistant include:
- Keeping things organized. An office can't run smoothly if things are unorganized. A medical assistant will keep both paperwork and medical supplies stocked and ready for use.
- Scheduling appointments. Medical assistants will help patients schedule appointments that work for them and then keep things in the office running on schedule.
- Handling payments. Medical assistants are often responsible for collecting payments from patients and submitting claims to insurance companies.
Clinical responsibilities of a podiatric medical assistant include:
- Measuring vital signs. Medical assistants will need to be able to measure blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature for each patient.
- Assisting with bedside procedures. Podiatric medical assistants may have more opportunities to help with bedside procedures than other types of medical assistants.
- Caring for toenails. Many patients in podiatry offices cannot reach their feet well enough to care for their toenails. Medical assistants can help them with this.
- Applying casts. After a bedside procedure or foot injury, a medical assistant can help the doctor apply a cast. They may also help patients with foot braces and splints.
- Applying creams. Many foot conditions include skin problems. Medical assistants often help patients apply creams and ointments to hard to reach places like the toes and heels.
- Taking blood samples. Even though their focus will be on the feet, podiatric medical assistants might also have to draw blood to be sent to the laboratory for testing.
Where Do Podiatric Medical Assistants Work?
Podiatric medical assistants usually work in a podiatry office or outpatient clinic. These offices can be found all over the country.
Most podiatric medical assistants will spend their days moving from room to room, often transitioning from administrative to clinical work and back again in a single day. Medical assistants usually work in a fast-paced environment and spend a lot of time walking and moving around.
What Skills Are Required to Be a Podiatry Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants have to have a variety of skills and medical knowledge to be successful in the field.
Some of the required skills for podiatric medical assistants include:
- Organization. Since medical assistants will see multiple patients throughout the day and perform a wide variety of different tasks, they need to be well organized and be able to easily switch between tasks.
- Compassion. Patients who come in for medical care are often hurting, uncomfortable, and sometimes embarrassed. Medical assistants have to be able to show kindness and compassion for each patient, even when they are busy.
- Dexterity. Podiatric medical assistants often have to handle small instruments and take care of small details like removing stitches.
- Endurance. If you want to be a medical assistant, you’ll need to be prepared to stay busy and work hard during your shifts.
- Medical terminology. While you don’t have to be an expert, understanding basic medical terminology will help you communicate with the doctors and understand what needs to be done for the patient.
- Computer skills. A lot of healthcare involves computer work. Not just for billing and scheduling, but for charting changes in patient conditions.
- CPR. Anyone working in healthcare should know basic CPR, and most medical assisting jobs require a CPR certification.
- Phlebotomy. Knowing how to draw blood is an important part of medical assisting. You can even take a special class and become certified in phlebotomy.
Podiatric Medical Assistant Salaries & Job Outlook
Medical assistants make a decent wage compared to other entry level healthcare jobs. The national average salary for medical a assistant is around $37,000 per year, or about $18 per hour.
For those who choose to specialize in podiatry, you can expect to make a little bit more. Podiatry medical assistant jobs often start at $18 per hour and can go all the way up to $25 per hour.
If the salary doesn’t encourage you to start medical assisting, job security might. Job opportunities for medical assistants are expected to increase by 16% through 2030.
How to Become a Podiatry Medical Assistant
If podiatry interests you, you can become a podiatric medical assistant by following just a few steps:
- Obtain your high school diploma or GED. In order to get a job as a medical assistant or enter a medical assisting program, you must first obtain your high school diploma or GED.
- Apply for a certification program. Although it is not required, most employers prefer that their medical assistants are certified.
- Get the necessary training & education. Certification programs can be completed online or through a college or trade school. Stepful, for example, has an online medical assistant training program that takes four months to complete and leads to a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification.
- Complete a podiatric medical assisting course. If you really want to stand out as a great applicant, you can take a specialized podiatry certification exam to show off your knowledge.
- Apply for jobs. Since medical assistants are in such high demand, finding a job near you shouldn’t take much more than a quick google search.
- Start working. After you get hired, you can jump into your career as a podiatric medical assistant.
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: