Administrative Medical Assistant: Job, Outlook and Training Info

Explore the career requirements for administrative medical assistants. Get the facts about job duties, career outlook, and necessary training to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Medical Office Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Administrative Medical Assistant?

Administrative medical assistants often work in hospitals and medical offices, and their duties include scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records and answering phones. Some administrative medical assistants are responsible for clinical tasks as well. These tasks may include recording patient histories, checking vital signs, administering injections, assisting physicians in patient exams and preparing lab samples.

Degree Required High school diploma required, but certificate or degree preferred
Training Required On-the-job training
Education Field of Study Medical assisting
Certification Voluntary certification available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 23%*
Median Salary (May 2015) $30,590*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of an Administrative Medical Assistant?

As an administrative medical assistant, your main duties will focus on the operation of a medical office. Your duties will include answering phones, arranging for laboratory services, scheduling appointments, updating patient files and processing insurance forms. Additionally, you may have to arrange details of hospital admittance for patients. You may also be responsible for ordering the supplies for and maintaining the cleanliness of examination rooms, office spaces and waiting areas.

Some states additionally allow administrative medical assistants to perform basic clinical tasks such as taking blood pressure and other vital signs. You may be allowed to draw blood, give injections, sterilize medical instrumentation and change bandages.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job opportunities for medical assistants in general are predicted to be excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 23% between 2014 and 2024. This faster-than-average projection is due, in part, to an increasing population of senior citizens needing care, along with new advances in technology. As of May 2015, the annual median salary for medical assistants was $30,590.

What Type of Training Do I Need?

While completing a formal education in medical assisting is not always required, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed either a 1-year certificate or diploma program or a 2-year degree program. You can find administrative medical assistant programs at community colleges and vocational schools.

In these programs, you'll study courses such as basic medical procedures, office operations, medical insurance, phlebotomy, anatomy and bookkeeping. You may also study word processing, transcription and pharmacology. Some associate's degree programs offer medical office internships or cooperative experiences that allow you to gain on-the-job training and increase your opportunity for hire.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Since administrative medical assistants fit the part of both a secretary/administrative assistant and a medical assistant, there are a number of related alternative careers depending on which aspects of the career you like. If you prefer administrative tasks, you might consider working as a secretary in another industry, like education, government or law. Those interested in the medical side of the career may consider working as nursing aides, who handle basic care for patients under the direction of a nurse. They may also work as LPNs or LVNs - nurses who provide nursing care under the direction of a registered nurse or doctor.

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