Are you planning on getting into the medical field, but you’re not committed yet? You’re not alone; according to the BLS, as of September 2020, the healthcare field is expected to grow nearly 14% by 2028, making it the fastest-growing field in the United States. Medical assistants specifically are seeing even more significant growth.
If you’re looking for a career with a high potential for growth and longevity, getting into healthcare might be beneficial.
But how can you decide what the right job is? The healthcare field is pretty broad, so you have a lot of options.
If becoming a medical assistant seems like it might be the right fit for someone newly entering the field, this is the guide for you.
Keep reading if you want to learn a few things that you want to ask yourself before committing to a medical assistant career.
Why Do You Want to Get Into Healthcare?
First, consider your purpose for getting into the healthcare field. Is it just going to be a job for you? Are you in it solely for the money?
Healthcare is a steep path, regardless of your position. For many people, it has to be a passion. Jobs in healthcare often require long hours and plenty of empathy with patients and doctors alike.
At times the job can be hectic. If you’re someone who seeks an easygoing career that allows them a healthy work/life balance, this may not be the right choice. However, for those who want to make tangible a difference in people’s lives, a medical assistant career could be precisely what you need.
Is the Pay Suitable for You?
The average pay for a medical assistant is just over $33,000 per year, though it varies widely around the country. Some parts of the country are lower while the west coast, specifically the Pacific Northwest, has higher averages.
For the levels of education required, this can be a viable career with a stable income if it’s the path that you choose to follow.
Look into the average pay for medical assistants in your area (or a place you’d like to live) and see if the income suits your needs.
Are You Interested In Advancing In Healthcare?
Becoming a medical assistant might be the final step for you. It’s not unlikely that you discover that you enjoy this position and like to continue it for the rest of your working life.
That said, many people choose to advance their careers later. Having a medical background as a medical assistant can give you a leg up in that area.
This is a great way to earn money while figuring out if you want to pursue further education avenues to expand your career. Some people find that working as a medical assistant sparks an urge to go into nursing. Others find that the experience sends them into a more administrative or managerial direction.
Either way, becoming a medical assistant can be the first step towards either of these outcomes. You get a fulfilling career while also potentially progressing towards something new.
What’s the Job Outlook Like?
What careers can you get as a medical assistant? It might seem like a standalone job, but you can be placed in several positions.
Medical assistants are needed everywhere, so you’ll have your choice of physical locations. Your skills will be required all over the country (and may potentially span across countries).
You’re going to be working in some medical facility, but these have a wide range, and you can choose something that appeals to you. You may find yourself in a doctor’s office, a psychiatric clinic, a gender clinic, a pediatrician’s office, etc.
If you have a passion for a specific field of medicine, you may find a job there.
What Skills Will You Need?
What skills do you possess that might be helpful in the position of a medical assistant?
Many skills are going to be taught by your program. These are things like CPR, patient care and bedside manner, and the ability to do basic medical tasks like performing injections or taking vitals.
Other skills may have been obtained through previous work or school experience. These are things like bilingualism of some kind, communication, organizational skills, computer skills, and an ability to multitask effectively.
A medical assistant can work either in direct healthcare or administration, so the required skills tend to be a mix of both.
What Education Do You Need?
The education and certifications required to become a medical assistant vary slightly depending on the state and facility you’d like to work.
Generally speaking, people who attend classes online or otherwise can expect a year’s commitment to a program. This program will teach you the skills required to succeed in the career and may end in a certificate needed for many medical assistant positions.
For those interested in healthcare but lack the time, money, and commitment to do a much longer program, this is an appealing choice. Not everyone can go to medical school or even a 4-year nursing program. This is an accessible avenue into a healthcare career.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Program?
When you’re committed to the career, the next step is choosing the right program for you. You have plenty of options, but which one suits you best?
Here are just a few things that you may want to look into before committing.
What Is the Cost?
Before starting any education program, it’s essential to know whether it’s in your budget. Getting caught in student loan debt is tricky, so it’s best to know whether this will be a viable option.
The career as a medical assistant is stable, and the program is short, meaning that any debt acquired can likely be paid off. That said, it doesn’t hurt to inquire about the price before committing.
Does It Offer Both Medical and Administrative Skills?
Not all medical assistant programs are alike, and they won’t all offer everything that you need. You’re looking for a program that will prepare you for the breadth of skills you’re going to use in your future career.
It’s helpful if a program will offer all of the skills you need, even those usually taught through external programs (like first aid and CPR).
This is supposed to be a comprehensive program, even if it’s short. Make sure that you’ll get the most out of your commitment.
Does It Offer Externships?
Externships are like internships. They’re opportunities to gather real-world experience. In this case, students will be spending time in real medical centers to gain valuable hands-on experience with patients. This isn’t something that can be taught in a lecture or done in a lab.
You want to have a lot of hands-on time, not just a few weeks. Look into how many hours you’re going to be spending on-site at the medical facility and decide if that’s going to be enough time for you to feel comfortable when you transition to a “real job.”
How Long Will The Program Take?
As we mentioned, the average program takes a year to complete. That said, not all programs have the same time commitments, and often they can be broken down into hours.
If you’re looking for a program that can fit alongside your schedule, planning it out by hours required for completion might be more helpful. The programs are quick, but knowing specifics can help you make your decision and plan around your classes.
Does the Program Offer Career Services?
Getting a job isn’t always as easy as sending out an application to every medical center nearby.
A good program that’s invested in the students’ growth will offer help with career placement and services so that you can start working right away.
You may get assistance with resumé writing, networking, employment counseling, and more. This can help those who have been out of work for a while or anyone who needs to brush up their job-hunting skills.
Is the Role of a Medical Assistant for You?
If you think that you might thrive as a medical assistant, consider looking into programs to get you on the right path. Careers in healthcare can be challenging, but they’re fulfilling and stable, and you may just find that you love it enough to continue your career development.
If you’re interested in a program that offers 900 hours of education, career services, and valuable on-site time, visit our site to request information about our medical assistant program.