Professional Medical Assistant as a Career | Harris School of Business
X You may need to Reload the page to make it work correctly.

Professional Medical Assistant as a Career

What kinds of Professional Medical Assistant jobs are there?

Clinical Medical Assistant

Clinical medical assistants—as opposed to administrative medical assistants—are the ones who work directly with patients in the exam rooms. They perform clinical tasks throughout the day, such as measuring blood pressure, weighing patients, taking temperatures, recording the pulse, handling lab specimens, and assisting the physician with minor office procedures. There may also be times when you need to draw a blood specimen, remove a patient’s stitches, or set up a patient for an EKG.

Specialized Medical Assistant

Specialized medical assistants are clinical medical assistants who are specialized in one field. This could be any medical field, such as ophthalmology, pediatrics, geriatrics, ambulatory medicine, or any number of medical subspecialties. Their clinical duties may include tasks that are specific to the specialty, such as an optometric assistant showing a patient how to insert contact lenses, or a pediatric assistant knowing how to take an infant’s temperature.

Administrative/Clerical Medical Assistant

Administrative or clerical medical assistants have a different role from clinical assistants. They spend most of their time at a desk or computer. Their role is to keep the office running smoothly. They answer phones, make appointments, keep records, organize paperwork, and sometimes handle insurance or billing matters. For medical assistants who prefer not to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, this can be a good option.

Where do Professional Medical Assistants work?

Job Settings

Professional medical assistants are qualified to work in many different healthcare settings. These include:

  • Medical offices
  • Private medical practices or public clinics
  • Specialist offices
  • General hospitals
  • Surgical hospitals and surgical centers
  • Outpatient centers
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities

What do Professional Medical Assistant students study?

To enroll in a professional medical assistant training program, no medical experience is required. Studies are geared toward the beginner and progressively become more challenging. Examples of topics that are covered in the courses include:

  • Procedures for patient care
  • Procedures for medical offices
  • Science and healthcare terminology
  • Human anatomy and physiologyPharmacology topics
  • Improving communication skills
  • Improving technology skills

What is the job outlook for Professional Medical Assistants?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers predictions on job growth for hundreds of careers. The handbook predicts positive job growth for medical assistants. The handbook predicts, “Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

These positive predictions are based on the aging baby boom population and their need for more medical services. Support positions such as medical assistants are important, because they free up the time of the physicians to see more patients.

The handbook asserts that the primary care sector is one that has consistent growth, and many medical assistants work in primary care. The handbook goes on to predict that medical assistants with formal training or experience will have an edge in the job market.

How much do Professional Medical Assistants make?

The Occupational Outlook handbook offers a page on how much professional medical assistants make on average across the country. This is just a guideline. Earnings will vary depending on geographic location, years of experience, and employer.

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about becoming a professional medical assistant, try these resources.

National Health Care Association

American Medical Technologists

Looking for a Better Career?

If the professional medical assistant program isn’t for you, we may have another program that’s a better fit. Try our list of career-focused training programs to find the right career path for you.