Common Medical Assisting Misconceptions
To the general public, the job of medical assistants is perceived as an odd mixture of administrative assistants, nurses, billing and coding technicians, and receptionists. While the medical assistant role does have a large variance of duties, it is distinct from these other occupations yet shares many of their characteristics. Medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare administration as well as patient care, facility operations, and overall productivity of a healthcare medical organization. Below we will identify some of the most common misconceptions about the medical assistant position and reveal the truth behind them.
It’s a Job, Not a Career
This perception is entirely false. The medical assistant position is a full-time, often intensive career that requires formal training. There is also a very high demand for qualified medical assistants across the healthcare industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical assistant position is projected to grow 23% between 2014 and 2024. Another factor influencing false public perceptions is the idea that a medical assistant position is just a stepping stone to another medical profession. The fact is that many medical assistants stay at one facility, under one doctor for their entire careers simply because they love the work. Medical assistants have almost limitless specialties they can go into as far as healthcare goes. Medical assistant positions exist in every kind of medical practice. Additionally, because medical assistants are tasked with many different duties, they gain experience in many different healthcare roles which makes them prime candidates for promotion within healthcare organizations.
It’s an Easy Job, Anyone Can Do It
Many people think that medical assistants have an easy job and that anyone could do it with a little on-the-job training. The reality is that medical assistants are trained medical professionals that have undergone specific higher education for the job. Education requirements vary from state-to-state, but most employers require a degree program of some type, usually a certification or associate’s degree. Medical assisting students receive training in a wide variety of medical practices, as well as legal, insurance, administrative, and clinical practices. Depending on if a medical assistant goes into a medical specialty, of which there are many, even more training is required. In a fast-paced environment like a medical facility, education and training are definitely required.
It’s a Boring Job, They Only Work in Doctor’s Offices
A widely held misconception about medical assistants is that they only work in doctor’s offices and clinics, acting as receptionists or administrative assistants more or less. While some medical assistants do indeed work in individual physician practices and clinics, many choose to work in a variety of other medical settings, including but not limited to:
- Urgent Care Centers
- Surgical Centers
- EKG and Imaging Centers
- Medical Laboratories
- And a variety of specialized medical facilities (chiropractic, orthopedic, geriatric, OBGYN, etc.)
Once a medical assistant has completed their formal education, is certified, and has some work experience, he or she may enter any medical specialty available to them. Among the greatest positives of being a medical assistant is that nearly every healthcare facility needs at least one.