How to Choose Where to Work as a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants are often the arms and legs of a medical practice. They greet patients. They take medical histories, check vitals, and do lab work. They perform behind-the-scenes office tasks. They support the physicians and nurses whenever possible. They are flexible, adaptable, and ready for the changes of any given day. And the field is growing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is on a fast track to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, which means the opportunities and choices for medical assistants are greater than ever before. Want mainly administrative duties? You can do that. Want a little more focus on the clinical aspects of a practice? You can do that, too. Our students have the control to chose where to work as a medical assistant in Utah and what type of environment they want to work in, which is incredibly empowering. You can start by checking out some of the career options for medical assistants below, but know there are many, many paths you can take on your exciting new journey!
Small family practice
As a medical assistant in a small family practice, you’ll have the chance to work with and get to know a small group of medical professionals, ranging from the physician, another medical assistant, an office manager, a receptionist, a lab technician, or some combination thereof. Since the office will be so small, it won’t be unusual for most members of the team to be cross-trained on most of the positions and for the work to be more personalized. You’ll be expected to help out when times are busy, and times will be busy!
Medical assistants in small family practices can bond with their coworkers like family, but there’s another side to that coin: if you work with difficult people, you have to spend a lot of time together in a relatively small space. Hopefully you can recognize this risk of disagreement during interviews — or after a while find another practice with coworkers more like you. Either way, over time you’ll find a routine that works and truly know what it’s like to be part of a team.
Related Resources: The Most (and Least) Expected Places to Work As a Medical Assistant
In small practices, it’s very common and expected for medical assistants to perform some or all of the office tasks, in addition to clinical work. In larger facilities, medical assistants’ duties may look more like those of a nursing assistant, and they’re likelier to have a specialized function based on what unit they’re in. While administrative tasks will still be in the repertoire, it won’t be as comprehensive as a smaller practice. This can allow you to become skilled in different areas, which can make you more competitive in the job market.
Because the practice is much larger, you’ll work with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and medical expertise. This also means there may be more opportunities for advancement, learning corporate skills, and becoming well-trained in specific functions, like performing electrocardiograms for a cardiologist.
Related resources: Why 10 Months? Becoming a Medical Assistant in Less Than a Year
Urgent care facilities might fly under your radar, but they are a great choice for people who like the experience and pace of seeing a number of different ailments in any given day. We have found that many of our Draper and Provo medical assisting students love these placements, because the energy can prove thrilling. The duties will be very similar to those in a small practice, and although most life-threatening conditions will go to the ER, you can expect to see a high volume of patients with mild to moderate illnesses and injuries. Did you catch the high volume part? On average, urgent care centers see 342 patients per week (that’s around 49 patients per day). You’ll be very busy, but you won’t ever be bored!
Related Resources: 10 Things You Never Knew about Medical Assisting
Medical assistants working in a specialist’s office — such as chiropractic, cardiology, or obstetrics/gynecology — will have a more focused role, depending on the needs of the practice. For example, in ophthalmology, you’ll help the physician with diagnostic testing and minor eye surgeries. In cardiology, you might be expected to answer basic questions from patients about medications.
Working in a specialist’s office also affords you the luxury of knowing what types of diagnoses you’ll often see and what types of patients will visit the practice. For example, if you’d rather focus on older generations, working in a cardiology clinic instead of pediatric care would be a better medical assisting job for you.
Related Resources: Signs You Could Be a Great Pediatric Medical Assistant
The sky’s the limit when it comes to a career as a medical assistant. And who knows? You might find you want to continue your education and go back to school to become a registered nurse. Either way, at Ameritech we prepare everyone in our medical assisting program in Utah for the skill set needed to be successful in whatever path they chose. You can graduate from our Provo or Draper campus in less than a year with the most affordable medical assisting program in the state. To learn more, reach out to us today!