11.18.2013

What is a Medical Assistant?

According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, medical assisting is one of the Top 10 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. with a projected employment through 2020 at 689,900 jobs. But what exactly is a medical assistant? Despite being an important part of healthcare, the role of the medical assistant may often be overlooked. However, medical assistants are absolutely necessary to keep a doctor’s offices running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

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WellSpring medical assisting student checking a patient’s ears.


According to the WellSpring website, “Although the responsibilities of a medical assistant will vary from office to office, most will perform either clinical duties, including recording medical histories, taking vital signs, explaining treatment procedures, preparing patients for their examinations, collecting laboratory specimens and sterilizing medical instruments; or administrative duties, such as completing insurance forms, billing, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admissions and managing medical records.”

Medical assisting students typically complete the program in less than a year with courses that focus on anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, laboratory techniques, clinical procedures, pharmaceutical principles, the administration of medications, transcription, record keeping, accounting and insurance processing.


Medical assisting students at WellSpring get hands-on training and mentorship.


Medical assistants interact with a large group of people in their careers including physicians, staff, healthcare professionals and numerous patients. Multitasking is one of their strong points as their responsibilities require them to perform a variety of both clinical and administrative duties.

Those looking into a healthcare career should also be aware of the differences between a medical assistant and a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Medical assisting focuses on skills such as phlebotomy and injections, as well as recording medical and insurance information. With such a broad range of skills, medical assistants are in high demand and can look forward to a wide range of career opportunities. 

If you’re interested in a career in medical assisting, request info here or check out the video below.