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Significant Points
Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 decade.
Job prospects should beexcellent.
About 62 percent of medical assistants work in offices of physicians.
Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1-year or 2-year programs.
Nature of theWorkMedical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medicalassistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds oftasks, handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particulararea, under the supervision of department administrators. Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision ofa physician. (Physician assistants are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Administrative medical assistants update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange forhospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments,and handling billing and bookkeeping.
Clinical medical assistants have various duties, depending on State law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explainingtreatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes...
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