There’s no quest nobler than helping others, and people who dedicate their lives and time to such a mission are worthy of admiration and respect. To give one’s life for the betterment of others is a calling very few are capable of pursuing, and for that, they’ll always be appreciated.
Most people think of doctors and firemen when they think of this kind of life, but there are others who do as equally an impressive job, yet are often not in the spotlight. Take medical administrative assistants, for example. If you’ve ever been to a hospital, chances are you’ll have dealt with one, and they’ll have helped make your stay much more comfortable. But what exactly is it they do?
What is a medical administrative assistant?
A medical administrative assistant is also known as a medical secretary, and they are the people responsible for performing administrative functions at the hospitals or clinics where they work, as well as some medical duties according to their level of experience and knowledge. A medical administrative assistant has roles that include direct contact with patients as well as indirect ones, each serving to take care of a certain task that would make a patient’s stay much more comfortable.
What do they do?
The medical administrative assistant is the first person you meet when you check into a hospital or a clinic. They’re the ones that greet you and show you what forms to fill out, and how to do it. When you have any questions, they’re the first people who answer them. Other than checking in patients at the front desk, they also answer phones to take appointments and answer inquiries about the hospital or clinic.
When a patient checks in, a medical administrative assistant is the one who takes their case history and asks about any prior illnesses they might’ve had, or any medications they are on. The assistant also compiles the patients’ medical history and case charts for the doctors to use, and they are responsible for transferring lab results to the responsible doctors.
Other than that, the medical administrative assistant takes care of insurance payment and the processing of all details regarding the patients’ payment, and they basically liaise between the patient and their insurance company using their medical knowledge and understanding of the technical terminologies. In a nutshell, you’ll find medical assistant operating computer software and office equipment in the hospital/clinic, from scanners and printers to copy machines and faxes.
Besides their administrative tasks, the medical assistant is expected to perform several other tasks in the hospital that have to do with the medical side of things. For starters, they may be asked to take patients’ vital signs, and they also draw blood samples and take urine samples as well. A medical administrative assistant will sterilize equipment in the hospital or clinic they’re working in, and they will help doctors with tasks they might need.
Their medical duties might vary a bit between hospitals, clinics, and private practices, and they might entail some primary care and pediatric duties the further away you go from hospitals.
This is definitely a great feature, because it allows for medical administrative assistants to grow and learn as their career progresses, and they end up partaking in several clinical duties that will definitely add a lot to their expertise.
How do you become one?
Perhaps the greatest advantage to being a medical administrative assistant –– and the reason why this job is in high demand –– is the fact that it’s a job that doesn’t necessarily require a degree, unlike most others in the health sector. You can, of course, get some form of certification, and it will add a lot to your application, making you a better candidate for the job.
You can search our medical administrative assistant programs for an idea on what the available programs are and what kind of certifications you can get. Getting a degree would be quite beneficial for your career as a medical administrative assistant, and it will boost your salary and growth.
Yet, if you want to apply to become a medical administrative assistant, you could do it with your high school diploma, and you will get on the job training. This would naturally make things a bit harder, and you might have to spend some time finding a doctor to take you on and train you on the job, but it’s an avenue worth exploring if you really want this job and are passionate about medical care.
Still, graduates who are serious about making a career out of being medical administrative assistants are often advised to enroll in a program to get the technical knowledge and hands-on experience that would qualify them for immediate hiring after they’re done.
What do you need to become a medical administrative assistant?
You need people skills for starters. You’re going to be dealing with a lot of patients, with varying manners and tempers, so being short-tempered is definitely not an advantage. It is a people-centric job that includes a lot of customer handling and soft skills so you could handle the number of people you’ll be dealing with. You will naturally need to have a good knowledge of English and math because the job entails a lot of data entry and dealing with computers, and those are the basic requirements for this job.
The average pay for a medical administrative assistant in the United States is a little under 34,000 per year, but it’s definitely going to vary according to your level of experience and your technical knowledge –– hence the importance of getting a certificate before applying for a job as a medical assistant, because it will make a big difference in your salary.
It definitely isn’t an easy job, and it comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties, but it’s also an extremely rewarding one that will add a lot to you as a person. Seeing the gratitude in people’s eyes as you help them in their most difficult of times is one of the many ways you’ll find gratification through working as a medical administrative assistant.
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