If you’ve decided to pursue a medical assisting career, you’ve made a great choice! By working in healthcare, you can make a difference in the lives of many people. In particular, a medical assisting career can allow you to work directly with physicians and patients while helping healthcare institutions to provide quality care to the communities they serve.
Medical Assistant Job Requirements: The Skills and Knowledge Needed
So what skills do you need before pursuing employment as a medical assistant? Looking at medical assistant job listings can be helpful for seeing what organizations near you want. Pay equal attention to the medical assistant job description and the medical assistant job requirements. Even if it’s not listed, all organizations will require medical assistants to be detail-oriented. This is because a major part of a medical assistant job description is recording important patient information and completing critical documents for physicians and insurance companies. Anyone working in medical assisting will also be expected to demonstrate strong communication skills and professionalism while talking with healthcare professionals and with patients. This includes staying calm under pressure and in stressful situations.
Finally, technical and analytical skills are necessary for fulfilling the responsibilities of a medical assistant. Medical assistants’ duties include technical tasks like taking vital signs and completing patient histories, reviewing patient charts, performing venipuncture and preparing blood samples for testing, and administering injections. For these duties, medical assistants will need an understanding of areas like medical billing and coding, medical terminology, and more. Being able to use basic clinical instruments, electronic medical records, specialized computer software, and other medical assistant technology are also essential medical assistant job requirements.
Medical Assisting Programs, Education & Training
Completing a formal medical assisting program can help you to develop your knowledge in these required technical areas. Medical assisting programs can also help develop skills related to critical thinking, communication, and professionalism necessary for a medical assisting career.
Medical assisting certificate and medical assisting associate degree programs are two common options offered by colleges and universities. A medical assisting certificate program may take a year or less to complete, while a medical assisting associate degree program typically takes around two years. Both types of medical assisting programs include classroom, lab, and practicum portions, with some schools offering online coursework to allow students greater flexibility in completing their medical assisting training. While medical assisting courses offered vary at different schools, the South College Medical Assisting Certificate program cover topics such as:
- Medical Terminology
- Medical Law & Ethics
- Medical Office Administration
- Medical Insurance & Diagnostic Coding
- Medical Assistant Foundations
A clinical practicum also gives you the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom to a real-world setting.
In addition to the courses and experiences listed above, students who continue on to earn an associate degree in medical assisting at South College can build a strong foundation in written and spoken communication, computer literacy, the humanities, math, personal development, and the social sciences. Additional courses in the medical assisting associate program include those in Pharmacology and Diseases of the Human Body.
Completing a medical assisting program can also help prepare you to take the Certified Medical Assistant exam or pursue other medical assisting certifications. Having a certification in medical assisting could help to make your medical assistant job application stand out from others as well as help you to qualify for more medical assistant career opportunities.
Preparing for Your Medical Assistant Career
South College offers certificate and associate degree Medical Assisting programs at our campuses in Asheville, Atlanta, Knoxville, and Nashville. To support students with busy schedules, our
Medical Assisting programs are designed so that much of your coursework can be completed online. Hands-on, on-campus learning opportunities, laboratory experiences, clinical practicums, and check-ins with program faculty round out the experience to teach you the skills you need to work in medical assisting. To see how South College could help you prepare for a medical assistant career, explore our programs today.