Medical aides' job duties include data entry, records management and other responsibilities that help medical offices run smoothly. They must have at least a high school diploma, though earning an appropriate certification can help applicants land a job in this field.
Medical aides are more typically referred to as medical assistants, and there are certification options for medical assistants who have completed accredited education and passed a national certification exam. A certified medical assistant is educated to perform both administrative and clinical tasks. While it is possible to enter this career with just a high school diploma, most medical assistants complete a postsecondary education training program. Certification is not required, but is often preferred by employers.
|Required Education||Certificate or diploma in medical assisting most common; some associate's degree programs also available|
|Other Requirements||Passing certification exam|
|Projected Job Growth||23% for all medical assistants from 2014-2024*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)||$30,590 for all medical assistants*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certified Medical Assistant Job Description
A certified medical assistant (CMA) must undergo accredited formal training or obtain an applied science associate's degree. In order to become certified, he or she must also pass a national certification exam. CMAs act as assistants to physicians in nursing homes and hospitals, and they are supervised by registered nurses. CMAs work with patients who have stable health and need only routine check-ups and dosages of medication.
Certified medical assistants are taught to fill both administrative and clinical roles in a health care environment. Some of the administrative tasks they perform may be patient billing, scheduling, insurance claim submissions, database entry, outside referrals, prescription orders, desk reception, medical and financial records management, mail processing, and purchasing of supplies or equipment.
With experience, certified medical assistants may be relied upon to perform more duties, such as checking patient vitals, recording patient interviews and histories, offering patients advice on special diets and disease management, performing routine tests, assisting physicians with minor surgeries, performing basic lab tests, preparing and administering medicine. He or she may gain job duties such as applying or removing bandages, stitches, splints and casts, and first aid procedures.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical aide jobs are expected to grow 23% between 2014 and 2024. Those with certifications will have the best job opportunities. Institutions hiring certified medical assistants include clinics, group practices and healthcare facilities seeking personnel who are qualified in both administrative and clinical areas. Job prospects for medical assistants are extremely positive; this area of health has been reported as the most efficient and cost-effective for employers.
A high school diploma is generally the minimum educational requirement to begin a career as a medical assistant. However, certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs can provide medical assistants with the training they'll need to provide clerical support by making copies, performing data entry and keeping track of records, among other similar duties. Medical assistants can also obtain certification, which is preferred by employers, by passing a national certification exam.