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What Are the Roles and Duties of a Medical Assistant?

Whether you’ve always been passionate about working in the medical field, or you’re ready for a career change, taking the role of medical assistant could be a great choice for you.

The role of medical assistant combines hands-on patient care with administrative duties, which allow the organizations they work for to function seamlessly. Where do medical assistants work? Hospitals, doctors' offices, and other medical facilities. They are essential in the healthcare industry and often find the job to be a rewarding experience.

Medical Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a medical assistant vary depending on what type of facility they work in and the type of medical assistant they are. To learn more about the duties of being a medical assistant, we’ve outlined some information for you below.

Medical assistants do a two-part job in many ways; they are responsible for assisting both the medical team and the administrative team. They evenly split their time working in the front and in the back of the office.

The front office is where the medical assistant works directly with the business side of their practice and reports to the office manager. Administrative/front office medical assistant duties often include:

  • Managing patient records

  • Scheduling patient appointments

  • Answering the phone and checking voicemail

  • Responding to emails

  • Assisting in accounting and billing

  • Working with insurance companies

  • Managing the front desk and reception area

The back of the office, conversely, is where they work directly with the healthcare team and assist in patient care. When working here, they report directly to the care professionals. The medical/back office medical assistant duties include:

  • Recording patients’ personal information and medical history

  • Going over procedure and treatment details

  • Helping doctors during medical exams

  • Taking vital signs, such as temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure

  • Preparing samples to be sent to the lab

  • Sterilizing instruments

Clinical Medical Assistant Duties

A clinical medical assistant, more specifically, works alongside doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They work more closely with the medical side of the facility and ensure that the doctors and nurses they’re working with have support. Clinical medical assistants work in outpatient clinics, doctors’ offices, health clinics, urgent care clinics, and hospitals. Their duties include both medical and administrative work.

The medical/back-office duties of a clinical medical assistant are:

  • Gathering patient history and personal information

  • Explaining treatments and procedures to the patient

  • Assisting doctors during medical exams

  • Taking vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature

  • Preparing blood and other samples for lab tests

  • Giving patients injections or medications based on the orders of a doctor (this will vary state to state depending on state laws)

  • Sterilizing instruments

  • Changing sutures and wound dressings

The administrative/front office clinical medical assistant duties are:

  • Updating all patient details in medical records

  • Scheduling appointments

  • Following up with patients after appointments

How to Become a Medical Assistant

If you think becoming a medical assistant, there are some educational requirements to fulfill first. Medical assistants need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to enroll in a certificate and degree program. With that, someone can get started and enroll. These programs are offered online and or in-person and can be completed in less than a year.

Next, you'll enroll in a certificate program. Certificate programs offer educational and hands-on training in as little as three months.

Is Medical Assisting a Good Fit for You?

Being a medical assistant is hard work — but it’s also very rewarding. Going through a certification program teaches you all the technical skills that you need to be a medical assistant, but there are some skills that can’t be taught but are just as needed.

These skills are:

  1. Care and concern for other people

  2. Attention to detail

  3. Honesty and integrity

  4. High-stress tolerance

  5. Patience

  6. Organizational skills

  7. Adaptability and flexibility

  8. Quick thinking

  9. Dependability

  10. Being a team player

Are you ready for a new career now that you understand what it takes to become a medical assistant and the different roles and responsibilities that will be required of you?

If you’re looking for an in-demand career in one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, want to become part of the medical field, and are passionate about caring for others, begin your training today and start working as a medical assistant this year.


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