Demand for medical assistants continues to rise.
Medical Assistant at a Glance
Medical assistants typically graduate from post-secondary education programs, where they earn certificates or diplomas. Some states require medical assistants to graduate from an accredited program, pass an exam, or both to do advanced tasks, such as taking X-rays and giving injections. Medical assistants who earn certification may have better job prospects.
Typical Tasks Performed
- Take and record patient history and personal information
- Measure vital signs
- Help the physician with patient examinations
- Give patients injections as directed by the physician
- Schedule patient appointments
- Prepare blood for laboratory tests
Outlook for Employment
Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. A number of factors are expected to contribute to this growth:
- The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to spur demand for preventive medical services.
- An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly medical assistants, to do both administrative and clinical duties.
- Medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry.
- Federal health legislation will expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance, increasing patient access to medical care.
- Demand for medical assistants will also increase as more physicians’ practices switch to electronic health records (EHRs). Medical assistants’ job responsibilities will expand to include maintaining EHR security and analyzing electronic data to improve healthcare information.
Industries That Employed the Most Medical Assistants in 2014:
- Offices of physicians – 59%
- Hospitals; state, local, and private – 15%
- Offices of other health practitioners – 10%
- Outpatient care centers – 7%
Please note that these are national statistics and projections that might vary by location.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm