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Clinical Medical Assistant: Salary and Career Information

Clinical medical assisting requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Clinical medical assistants help doctors examine patients, take medical histories or arrange equipment. Those in this field are expected to have at least a high school diploma and can pursue certifications with the American Association of Medical Assistants. This is a quickly growing field with a 2015 median wage of $30,590 a year.

Essential Information

A clinical medical assistant generally works under the supervision of a physician, facilitating patient examinations, transcribing medical histories, as well as explaining impending procedures and preparing medical equipment. Clinical medical assistants may also perform certain medical tests and authorize drug refills. This career requires a high school diploma at a minimum, though certificates, diplomas and 2-year degrees are common among these professionals. Assistants usually go through a period of on-the-job training.

Required Education None mandatory, though many medical assistants have completed a college training program; on-the-job training is provided with employment
Certification Voluntary certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 23% for all medical assistants*
Median Salary (2015) $30,590 for all medical assistants*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary for a Clinical Medical Assistant

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for medical assistants was $30,590 in 2015. The BLS advises those who want to advance their careers and achieve a higher salary to pursue certification (www.bls.gov). The American Association of Medical Assistants offers voluntary certification programs (www.aama-ntl.org). The AAMA requires certification candidates to complete an approved medical assisting program, have a clean criminal record and successfully complete a certification exam.

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Career Information for a Clinical Medical Assistant

The U.S. Department of Labor (www.careerinfonet.org) explains that a clinical medical assistant should possess certain skills including:

  • Knowledge in both medical and dental fields
  • Ability to communicate with patients on a personal level
  • Listening and interviewing skills
  • Proficiency at explaining technical terms

The BLS reported that, depending upon state law, a clinical medical assistant may be responsible for assisting doctors during examinations, including preparing patients and explaining procedures. A clinical medical assistant may also be tasked with documenting vital signs, such as blood pressure and body temperature, as well as transcribing patients' medical histories onto charts for record-keeping purposes. Further, a clinical medical assistant may be in charge of the preparation and collection of lab specimens, as well as overseeing and carrying out diagnostic tests on blood and urine.

In most cases, a clinical medical assistant is directly supervised by a doctor. The physician may entrust the assistant to perform certain duties such as:

  • Administering medications
  • Approving pharmaceutical drug refills
  • Instructing patients on medication use
  • Removing medical dressings, such as sutures

The BLS asserted that while formal education in the field is often preferred, it is not entirely necessary. The majority of clinical medical assistants hold 2-year degrees in medical assisting and often receive on-the-job training.

A clinical medical assistant helps physicians in treating patients, taking medical histories, and removing sutures. While there's no postsecondary education required, many pursue certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs in medical assisting. This is a quickly growing field, with a projected job growth of 23 percent over the next decade.

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