Medical assistants play critical roles in today's healthcare industry, assisting doctors with administrative and clinical tasks. These tasks include administering medications, processing insurance claims, noting patient medical histories, checking vital signs, and much more.
Medical assistants are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% increase in medical assistant jobs between 2020 and 2030.
But where do medical assistants work? Here are some places in the healthcare industry where these healthcare professional can put their diverse skills to use.
Where Medical Assistants Work
Medical assistants work in a variety of settings depending on what type of medical assistant they are. Here's a look at some of the most common places medical assistants work:
Doctors Offices & Medical Clinics
More than half of all medical assistants work in a doctor's office or clinic. Private practices typically have recurring patients. In this case, you will see the same people over and over again.
In hospitals, the same patients rarely return. This may be a good place to work if you prefer working in a community-oriented environment.
In private practice offices, medical assistants may be in charge of both clinical and administrative duties.
Some specific types of doctors offices and medical clinics that medical assistants work include:
- Family medicine
Hospitals are the second-largest employer of medical assistants in the United States. Hospitals frequently operate around the clock, and medical assistants may be required to work at various times of the day.
Depending on where you work, your day may alternate between administrative and clinical tasks. Because most hospitals offer emergency services, being able to work under stress will be advantageous.
Many hospitals are major employers in their communities and frequently provide competitive pay and benefits.
Outpatient care centers are not quite clinics or hospitals, but have aspects of both.
These are typically medical offices that offer services that do not necessitate an overnight stay. Minor surgery, lab tests, and psychiatric outpatient care may be provided here.
As a medical assistant, you may be responsible for both administrative and clinical duties. Many outpatient clinics are open on weekends, but they are less stressful than hospitals, where the majority of patient care is urgent.
Clinical Trials/Medical Research Center
Working for medical research centers that conduct clinical trials or other research is another option for a medical assistant.
You could assist research participants by collecting samples, preparing samples for diagnosis, or administering tests. Administrative tasks such as entering participant information and documenting data may also be assigned.
Clinical trials are another possibility for employment. As new medicines must be approved by the FDA, clinical trials are required for any new drugs entering the market.
A medical assistant is critical to the smooth operation of a doctor's office, hospital, or medical clinic, and their responsibilities are divided between administrative and clinical duties. If you choose to work for an insurance company, you will put your administrative skills to good use.
You will be responsible for analyzing patient medical records and organizing hospital admissions, laboratory services, and insurance claims. You will be a valuable resource to an insurance company because you will be familiar with medical terminology and basic medical care.
Other Places Medical Assistants Work
Here are some other places medical assistants may work:
- Nursing homes/retirement facilities
- Palliative care facilities
- In the military
- Colleges & universities
- Diagnostic labs
- Urgent care facilities
>> Read More: Highest-Paying Medical Assistant Specialties
What is the Best Place to Work as a Medical Assistant?
There is no overall best place to work as a medical assistant. It comes down to what you enjoy and your specific skills.
Some things to consider are:
- If you prefer clinical or administrative work. You can specialize as a clinical medical assistant or medical administrative assistant.
- If you want to work at a large facility (such as a hospital) or a small practice (such as a doctors office)
- What kind of healthcare you're most interested in (geriatric care, pediatrics, surgery, etc.)
- What days and hours you want to work
- What types of medical assistant jobs are available where you work
How to Become a Medical Assistant
If you've decided you want to become a medical assistant, here are the steps you have to take:
- Get your high school diploma or GED (4 years). Medical assisting programs require a high school diploma or GED to get started. You can take a GED exam whenever you feel ready.
- Enroll in a medical assisting course (4 months to 2 years). If you choose an online certificate program, you can have your medical assisting certificate in as little as 4 months. If you would prefer to graduate with a medical assistant diploma, you’ll spend about 2 years in school.
- Get work experience. You can take a CCMA or RMA exam and become certified by gaining work experience instead of going through a program. You’ll need at least one year of work experience to be eligible to take the CCMA or RMA exam.
- Start work. You can begin working right away without becoming certified if you would like.
- Get a job as a certified medical assistant. Since medical assistants are in such high demand, you should be able to find a job quite quickly. This is especially true if you are certified. Wondering how much you'll make as a medical assistant? Check out our medical assistant salary guide.
As you can see, there are many places that you can work as a medical assistant—one of the many benefits of the career. There are even travel medical assistants that take short-term contracts across the country. The chances of getting a job are increased when you pursue a certified course.
If you want to be a certified medical assistant, you can enroll in a medical assistant training course at Stepful. The online program leads to your Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification and comes with a 100% job placement guarantee.