Career Definition for a Pediatric Medical Assistant
Pediatric medical assistants work for doctors and nurses who specialize in treating children. The general administrative needs of a medical office are the responsibility of pediatric medical assistants who handle medical files, make appointments and manage payment issues; however, some will check a patient's body temperature or perform other basic medical services.
|Education||Associate's degree and 1-year certificate in medical assisting|
|Job Skills||Good listening and speaking skills, good with children, organized, background in computers|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$32,480 (for medical assistants)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||29% (for medical assistants)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
In order to become a pediatric medical assistant, one must complete a 1-year certificate in medical assisting. An aspiring medical assistant who wants an associate degree would earn an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting. Courses targeted toward a medical assistant career include science, pharmacology, ethics, law, computer science and medical business operations. Those looking to work specifically with children can do so by applying to offices that need a pediatric medical assistant; the American Association of Medical Assistants also offers programs and classes that may help pediatric medical assistants advance in the workplace (www.aama.org).
Pediatric medical assistants must have good active listening and speaking skills and should be at ease with children. In addition, those who work in pediatric medical assisting should also have good organizational skills; doctors' offices are complicated and hectic, making it easy for important paperwork to end up in the wrong place. A background in computers is also a necessity for pediatric medical assistants now that billing, insurance and similar administrative tasks are almost universally done online.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that roughly 646,320 jobs existed for medical assistants in 2017, which included pediatric medical assistants (www.bls.gov). The BLS also estimates that job growth in medical assisting will be 29% between 2016 and 2026. The median annual wage for medical assistants in May 2017 was $32,480, according to BLS figures; those at the top 10% of the profession reported a salary of $45,900 or more.
Alternate Career Options
Similar careers to a pediatric medical assistant include:
Medical Records and Health Information Technician
A medical records and health information technician is responsible for making sure that relevant files are complete and correct, stored in an organized fashion where they're easily retrievable and kept securely. Medical records and health information technicians may specialize as medical coders or cancer registrars.
This occupation requires a certificate or associate's degree and often, professional certification (of which there are several different kinds, and some according to area of specialty). The BLS predicts that jobs for medical records and health information technicians will increase at a better-than-average rate of 13% from 2016-2026. This job paid a median salary of $39,180 in 2017, per the BLS.
Dental assistants provide administrative and professional support in a dentist's office or clinic. They book appointments and handle insurance questions, prep patients and instruments for dental procedures, and give chair-side support to dentists as needed. The ability of dental assistants to perform some tasks is regulated by the state, such as polishing teeth or applying fluoride, sealant, or topical anesthetics.
Some states have rules about what's required to become a dental assistant; education programs include a diploma, certificate or associate's degree. On-the-job training is also common. Dental assistants may earn the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) designation; this is also required by some states, as is licensing.
The number of jobs for dental assistants is expected to increase 19% from 2016-2026, per the BLS - a rate that's much better than average. The BLS also reports that dental assistants earned median pay of $37,630 in 2017.