All About Attending a
Medical Assistant School

Do you enjoy helping others? Are you considering attending a medical assistant school but want to know more?

Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding and challenging career, and there is never a dull moment. You will use new medical technologies, learn new techniques, and continue to learn throughout your career.

The best part is you can become a medical assistant in as little as 7½ months when attending full-time. However, are you asking yourself, “What does a medical assistant do?”

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants work under the supervision of physicians and nurses in medical facilities, hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the duties of a medical assistant include these tasks.

  • Recording patient history, current medications, and signalment information
  • Taking vital signs, including blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rate
  • Helping physicians with patient examinations
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Managing physicians’ calendars
  • Preparing samples for laboratory tests
  • Managing patient files and electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Adhering to HIPAA confidentiality guidelines
  • Educating patients on healthy habits and at-home health care
  • Drawing blood
  • Administering EKGs

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Assistant Diploma?

Students attending full-time can complete a medical assistant diploma program in as little as 7½ months with day classes. Evening classes are often available at medical assisting schools, as well, and tend to take 15 months to complete.

What Do I Learn in a Medical Assistant Program?

Students learn a lot while attending a medical assistant program. Classes focus on: asepsis, pharmacology, urinalysis, microbiology, phlebotomy, anatomy, laboratory procedures, EKGs, clerical skills, and clinical skills.

Asepsis

Part of the job of a medical assistant is to assist doctors and nurses with minor surgery and medical procedures.

The most important part of a medical assistant’s job is to reduce the spread of pathogenic microorganisms. Students are taught sterilization techniques, how to use an autoclave, and proper preparation of patients.

Pharmacology

Students must become familiar with medications, how they affect patients, how medications are administered, and how dosages are calculated.

Urinalysis and Microbiology

Medical assistant students learn the techniques and procedures for collecting, handling, and testing specimens. They also learn the basic supplies and equipment used in microbiology. Further, students master the general rules of OSHA safety standards and guidelines.

Phlebotomy

Students are taught the proper guidelines for blood collection. The medical assistant student trains in capillary puncture and phlebotomy procedures.

Anatomy

Medical assisting students learn about the human body and the structures and functions of its parts. The systems include skeletal, muscular, circulatory, and respiratory. Students also become familiar with many of the terms, vocabulary, and word parts used on a day-to-day basis.

Laboratory Procedures

Students are taught about the many parts and uses of a microscope, as well as how to process specimens and special procedures to prepare specimens for offsite lab processing.

Administering EKGs

Medical assistant students get to know the relationship of the cardiovascular system and EKG. Courses focus on the proper completion of an EKG test without abnormalities.

Clerical Skills

Students learn proper telephone techniques and how to schedule appointments. They also learn how to use computer software, such as Microsoft Word for word processing, create memos, process mail, and about telecommunications.

Students develop skills to interact effectively with patients, including discussing finances with them. They acquire knowledge in the management of medical records, billing, and medical coding. Students are introduced to computer billing and electronic medical records (EHRs).

Clinical Skills

Medical assistant students become familiar with how to take and document vital signs and assist physicians with procedures and exams. The vital signs learned include body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration rate.

Externship

All medical assistant students obtain real world experience through a school externship. They work under the supervision of trained professionals who observe them performing medical assistant duties. Externships prepare students for their first job as a medical assistant.

Jobs Available After Graduation

There are many different opportunities for those who graduate from a medical assisting school. Although vocational schools can’t guarantee a job after graduation, they do offer career services and assistance to prepare for your first job interview.

Certified Medical Assistant

Once students graduate from a medical assistant school, they are prepared to take a certification test. Hiring managers and medical facilities look for certified medical assistants ready to take on the challenges of the job.

Hunter Business School prepares Medical Assistant graduates to take medical assistant certification exams through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and American Medical Technologists (AMT). These are optional credentials and are not included in tuition.

Ophthalmic Technician

Graduates of a medical assistant program are prepared to start working as an ophthalmologist’s technician. Ophthalmic technicians take patient medical histories, perform preliminary vision and diagnostic tests, clean and maintain ophthalmic equipment, and assist the ophthalmologist with minor procedures.

They also perform administrative duties, including coordination of patient scheduling, answering of patient questions, managing medical records, and other office management duties.

Chiropractic Assistant

Medical assistant school graduates are ready to become chiropractic assistants. They provide administrative and clinical support to chiropractors.

They greet patients, manage the waiting room, answer phone calls, schedule appointments, handle billing and patient records, and perform initial screenings for patient medical histories and vital signs.

Optometric Assistant

Those completing a medical assistant program are eligible for a career in optometry. Optometric assistants help run the optometry practice, allowing the optometrist to see more patients.

The optometric assistant performs clerical duties like greeting patients, scheduling appointments, answering telephones, processing billing, and assisting the optometrist with visual procedures. These visual procedures include visual acuity measurements, screening for glaucoma, and measuring the distance between a patient’s pupils.

Clinical Assistant

Graduates of medical assistant schools can also become a clinical assistant. Clinical assistants provide clinical care, greet patients, conduct initial exams, collect information, monitor medical equipment, sanitize rooms, sterilize instruments, and educate patients about procedures and at-home care.

Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants focus primarily on the administrative aspects of the job. This job is great for those who want to help and be on the front line, without direct contact with patients.

Medical office assistants are important in medical facilities because they manage the office allowing doctors, nurses, and medical assistants to care for more patients. The medical office assistant may be responsible for answering phones, scheduling appointments, processing billing, ordering supplies, and managing files.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited?

It is important for the medical assistant school to be accredited. Hunter Business School’s Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Hunter also has institutional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Learn more about accreditation and why accreditation is important.

What Is the Job Outlook in Medical Assisting?

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth can be attributed to the aging baby boomer population and their need for care for senior specific medical disorders, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and dementia.

This growth for medical assistants can also be attributed to an evolution of technology in the medical industry. More medications and advancements are allowing people to live longer lives, adding to the overall population of the world. This increase in population will continue to grow the demand for medical assistants for years to come.

Final Thoughts

There are many options for graduates of the Medical Assistant program and a large amount of knowledge that is gleaned while attending a medical assistant school.

With the knowledge and skills learned, and the strong growth in the industry, you could start earning as a medical assistant in less than 7½ months. Find the right vocational college near you and make sure it is accredited. This may be your first step toward a new career as a medical assistant.

Did you learn what you wanted to know about a medical assistant school?  Want to learn more about this exciting new career in the medical assisting field?

The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice.

The Medical Assistant program provides hands-on experience in a real medical setting where you can foster professional relationships with actual patients. Medical Assistant students spend 160 hours in an externship in an actual medical environment where they are supervised and taught in order to gain valuable on-the-job training.

Contact us today to find out more about how to become a medical assistant on Long Island.