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The Art of Being a Medical Assistant


Academic year: 2021

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When looking into this type of career and doing research on a Medical Assistant, you will come across three different types of Medical Assistants. The three types are:  Administrative - According to iulren.com, this person would handle medically

re-lated tasks and take care of medical records, insurance filing, claims follow-up and patient referrals.

 Clinical - This person is quite different than an Administrative or Clerical Medical Assistant, as they are more hands-on with patient care. They administer injections, take x-rays and assist with procedures.

 Clerical - This position would handle general office work, answer phones, greet patients, help with scheduling and file paperwork.

Whether you want to be more involved in the office side or the clinical side, there are many opportunities. Now go out and get it!

What is a Medical Assistant?

As you walk into the Doctor’s office for your appointment, you are greeted by a secretary sitting behind a glass window. She then hands you a bunch of paperwork that you need to fill out before you go back to see your

physician. The back door swings open and your name is called by a lady in scrubs: the Medical Assistant.

According to medicalassistantinfo.com, a Medical Assistant is a person who assists the physician by helping him/her with clinical or administrative tasks. Medical Assistants also need to be able to deal well with people and get the necessary training to become a Certified Medical Assistant.

What Type of Medical Assistant are You?

F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 2 M i c h i g a n E d i t i o n D i d y o u k n o w t h a t y o u o n l y h a v e t o h a v e a H i g h S c h o o l D i p l o m a t o r e c e i v e a M e d -i c a l A s s i s t i n g j o b ? S i n c e a l l o f t h e t r a i n i n g t a k e s p l a c e a t t h e d o c t o r ’ s o f f i c e , y o u d o n ’ t n e e d t o g e t a n y e x t r a e d u c a t i o n .

The Art of Being a

Medical Assistant


As a Medical Assistant, you are able to work in physicians offices including chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists. Potentially, you could be employed by private and public hospitals, other health care centers and government agencies.

Initially, the shifts may not be great depending on whether you are working in a hospital or a physician’s office. If you work full-time, it would most likely be an eight hour day, with a total of forty hours per week. The shifts could include evenings and weekends, which are likely if you work in a hospital setting. In a day-to-day Medical Assistant position, patients may be irritable and unpleasant and it is part of your job responsibility to calm the patient and try to meet their needs. This career may not always be fun and sometimes you may even question why you chose to be a Medical Assistant. However, these situations that may seem big to others will seem small to you, as you really love your chosen profession.

Working Conditions

Michigan Wages - Medical Assistants

Level of Experience

Hourly Rate

Annual Pay

Entry-Level Wage $11.65 $24,230 Median Wage $13.40 $27,870 Experienced Wage $15.24 $31,700

To the right you will find a table

produced by careercrusing.com showing the wages of a medical assistant

in Michigan.

What it Takes to Become a Medical Assistant

The average amount of time that it will take a person to complete the Medical Assistant Program is approximately two years, unless there is a desire to attain more advanced skills in this field. If you choose to specialize in a specific area, a four year degree is required.

Within job rankings, Medical Assisting is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations between 2008-2018. As you complete college and finish the program, your starting salary will average about $19,436. However, as you gain job experience the salary will increase and you could even become a specialist in a particular area. Salaries can increase to around $33,050 with experience and specialization.

Specializing is to further your Medical Assistant career by focusing on a certain health field like Podiatry, Optometry or Ophthalmology.


What to Expect from Your Training

Want to Earn More Money?

Your Medical Assistant training is expected to teach you how to handle a vast variety of situations that you will encounter in your day-to-day job. According to opticianslondan.org, Medical Assistant students learn how to take vital signs, schedule appointments, assist the doctor in giving treatments and other administrative and clinical tasks. There are plenty of courses covered in Medical Assistant training, especially if you want to become a well-rounded Medical Assistant. Some of the subjects that you may encounter in a Medical Assistant Program are Human Anatomy, Laboratory Techniques, Medication Administration, and Clinical and

Diagnostic Procedures. These courses do not include all that you would take, but they are the basis for becoming the best Medical Assistant you can be.

What if you could continue your education or take more advanced Medical Assistant training? Well you can! When you take these courses, you can specialize in an area such as Podiatry, Optometry and Ophthalmology. Another option is to focus on and perfect more clinical duties used in offices and clinics. As you advance in your career, so does your salary!

As you become more experienced as a Medical Assistant, you will receive compensation that is higher than an entry level position. Working hard and achieving your goals is a way to earn more money, while still enjoying your career as a Medical Assistant!

If taking classes on-campus is difficult for you, there

are online classes available for this program.

Check into them by talking to your Admissions Counselor!


Ask Dr. Nancy

QUESTION: I am currently a senior in high school, and looking at what college I want to go to attend

in the fall. I am a straight A student and have always dreamed of a job as a Medical Assistant. I am not sure what college to go to and was wondering if you had any suggestions. #NeedHelp

DEAR #NEEDHELP: I am glad to hear that you are looking at colleges already! You are thinking ahead and that is what colleges like to see. What type of college environment is appealing to you? Do you prefer a small campus setting that is close to home? If so, then I would highly recommend that you look into Baker College. Baker has a small inviting atmosphere, with well-rounded professors. Additionally, they are a Career College, which means after you graduate they will help you find a job in your field. This assistance is available right after graduation, but also throughout your entire work-ing career. I would encourage you to follow your heart and apply to many colleges, in order to see where you are accepted and which one you prefer. There is a college out there that is right for you and you need to go pursue your dreams. They won’t come find you!

QUESTION: I really like the medical field and am interested in the Medical Assistant

Program. However, I am not into the interacting-with-patients-directly type thing. I cannot stand blood, needles and all that nasty stuff, but I still really want to be in the medical field. Is there a job out there to suit my needs and wants? #Desperate

DEAR #DESPERATE: No need to panic and get all stressed out! There definitely is a

job just for you and it can include Medical Assisting. There are three different types of Medical Assistants: Clinical, Administrative and Clerical.. Since you said that blood and needles isn’t your thing, then I wouldn’t recommend being a Clinical Medical Assistant. A Clinical Medical Assistant administers shots and assists with procedures. An Administrative Medical Assistant interacts with patients by taking vital signs, but does not have to deal with needles, blood or procedures. However, I think the Clerical Medical Assistant would be a good fit for you, as this person answers phones, files and schedules patients. Have confidence to go out there and get that dream job!

QUESTION: I come from a very poor family and there is no money available to support me getting a

college degree. All my life I have wanted to be a Clinical Medical Assistant and I have read online that you can become one with just a high school diploma. I am a good student who is never absent and receives all A’s. Is it possible for me to get a Medical Assistant job without a college degree? #PoorGirl

DEAR #POORGIRL: I am sorry to hear about your situation and I hope that things will get better for

you. On the other hand, I am happy to hear that you are striving towards your goal of becoming a Medical Assistant. Earning good grades in high school is admirable. However, while you are

sometimes told that you could be hired as a Medical Assistant right out of high school, typically these positions are being filled by candidates with college degrees. Because of your family’s financial

situation you would be a great candidate for Financial Aid, which would help you get into a program at a small community college. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you can achieve your goal!


College of the Month: Davenport University

Davenport University was founded by Conrad G. Swensburg, a Union Army veteran, as Grand Rapids Business College in 1866. The college was on the verge of closing their doors in 1910 when a new teacher arrived, Michael E. Davenport. According to

Davenport’s website, under the control of Michael E. Davenport the college opened statewide and become a non-profit institution in 1954. Since the start of

Davenport University in 1866, it has become the second-largest private, non-profit institution in Michigan. Although Davenport is known for their business programs, they do have a variety of health professions programs including a Medical Assistant Program. Davenport University is a well known college that provides a great environment to obtain a degree.

“Davenport University’s values represent the behavioral expectations of our faculty, staff and students in performing their responsibilities and achieving their goals. These values are represented through STAIR,” according to Davenport’s website. STAIR is an acronym for Serving our students with quality, Trustworthiness, Accountability, Innovation and creativity, and Respect for people.

Medical Assistant Program

Davenport University’s Values

Davenport’s Medical Assistant Program is one that prepares students for an entry-level position in this career field. Davenport prepares their students by providing basic clinical, administrative and patient care skills needed to succeed. At the end of the program, students are eligible to take a certification exam with the American Association of Medical Assistants (CMA). As you look at the Medical Assistant Program online or in the catalog, some of the classes the students will take are Introduction to Human Disease, Clin-ical Patient Care, Health Records Content, Phlebotomy Lab and many others. Davenport University has a great Medical Assistant Program that helps prepare you for anything you might face in this rewarding ca-reer!

Davenport University Mission Statement

“Davenport University prepares people and organizations to excel in the knowledge-driven

environment of the 21st century.”


Sample Career Path of a Medical Assistant

According to careercruising.com, the tables below detail what a career path could like for a Medical Assistant.








EQUIREMENTS • High school diploma

• Enrolled in a Medical Assisting Program


ESPONSIBILITIES Working at a health care facility under the guidance of an experienced

Med-ical Assistant and taking classes




Medical Assistant


ARNINGS $20,000 to $25,000 a year


EQUIREMENTS • Completion of Medical Assisting Program

• Possibly certified



Performing administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, updating and filing medical records, and greeting patients. Performing clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, assisting with exams and giving injections.




Senior Medical Assistant


ARNINGS $25,000 to $35,000 a year


EQUIREMENTS • A few years of job experience



Doing more clinical tasks and spending less time on administrative duties; training interns and supervising junior Medical Assistants; purchasing medical equipment and supplies.


Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant

 The medical industry is growing at a rapid pace. While many people are losing their jobs and there is a struggle, this is not being felt as much in the medical field.

 In any given town or place, there are a variety of doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, dentists and other opportunities for employment. This is a huge benefit because you are sure that your job will be in demand for years to come.

 In this type of position, you will find that you can make very good money if you work hard and advance in your skills, as you gain experience. Entry level positions are not high paying, but you can earn upwards of $40,000 annually.

 One of the biggest advantages of being a Medical Assistant is that it is only the base on which to launch your career! You could further your education by going into nursing, hospital administration or a variety of medical careers.



Like any other career, Medical Assisting has its pros and cons. According to

mymedicalassistantcertification.com, the following are the pros and cons of being a Medical Assistant.

 As a Medical Assistant, you might find yourself in a position where you spend most of your day in the office, sitting behind a computer. As you look for a job, be careful that you aren’t getting hired in an office role if you want to do more clinical work. The training you receive in college will allow you to pursue either administrative duties, clinical or more medical functions.

 In comparison to nursing, the Medical Assistant pay is not as high as other medical type careers. As a Medical Assistant, you may find yourself going to school for one or two years and still making less that that of a nurse who went to school for two years.



As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons. However, these are key points to consider when choosing whether or not you want to pursue a career as a Medical Assistant.


Do you Possess these Traits?

Top Traits


Strong Communication Listening to others without interruptions. Share important physical

instructions clearly with patients.

Empathy Understand any concerns, joys and other situations. This will help patients

feel more at ease during their appointment.

Stress Tolerance Working in a busy office can get hectic. There will be stresses everywhere,

but are you a strong tolerant person to handle them?

Self-Control & Courtesy

It is easy to respond to a frustrated patient or a busy physician, but to handle your own emotions is different. If you are able to do this then it is a mark of a true professional.


Working in a healthcare facility will give you access to privileged information. As a result a Medical Assistant is faced with moral and ethical situations every day.

Attention to Detail By being alert and attentive to details, you are better able to help your

patients and physicians.

Dependability Everybody in the Doctor’s office depends on you to be on time, know your

job, and respect the accepted protocols.

If you are truly interested in becoming a successful Medical Assistant, you should enjoy working with people of all types of backgrounds and be strong in the above areas.

Medical Assistant Programs - Michigan


Dearborn, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Southfield





Battle Creek, Caro, Grand Rapids and Lansing


Farmington and Roseville










Clinton Township








Dearborn and Grand Rapids


Garden City

As a Medical Assistant, you will come in contact with many different types of situations, but do you have the right personal traits to take on these situations? According to Everest College, the following table includes personal characteristics needed to be a strong Medical Assistant.


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