what is a medical assistant
Are you interested in a medical assistant career, but wonder, “What is a medical assistant exactly?” Before beginning this new chapter, it’s important to learn what are common medical assistant duties and how medical assistants perform in the workplace. Through daily clinical and administrative tasks, medical assistants perform basic healthcare services and operate as liaisons between the doctor and the patient. Medical assistant duties could include helping doctors with medical procedures, preparing patients for x-rays, or simply filing patient medical records. No matter the task, medical assistants are highly trained healthcare professionals who operate both clinically and administratively offering vital patient care.

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What is the difference between clinical and administrative medical assistants?

To answer the question “What is a medical assistant”, we have to look at medical assistant duties and the goal behind those responsibilities. Clinical and administrative medical assistants perform tasks crucial to the success of the healthcare industry. Daily tasks that medical assistants perform vary based on the role, whether clinical or administrative.

What does a clinical medical assistant do?

If your medical assistant position is primarily clinical, you could find yourself performing the following duties:

  • Measuring vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Preparing patients for physical examinations
  • Drawing blood and preparing samples for lab work
  • Cleaning medical tools
  • Administering electrocardiograms and more!1

What does an administrative medical assistant do?

If you would rather work in the office or see yourself behind a desk, this could be the perfect job for you. As an administrative medical assistant, you could assist the doctor in a more organizational and office work role. Though the function of an administrative medical assistant is less clinical in nature, they provide patient care through these duties:

  • Recording patient medical history
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Entering patient information into medical records
  • Coding medical records and bills
  • Speaking with insurance companies
  • Preparing patient insurance forms and more!2

Which role stands out to you? Do you see yourself in the exam room or would you rather be managing the files, phone calls, and insurance claims? Whether the role is primarily clinical or administrative, providing exceptional patient care is the heartbeat of both types of medical assistants.

Where do clinical medical and administrative medical assistants work?

Over 114,000 jobs are projected to open each year for medical assistants in various medical environments that require their services.2Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative tasks in hospitals, medical offices, outpatient care centers, and chiropractic clinics.(3) Many medical assistants work full time in these settings, with the largest employer being medical offices. As people continue to seek out preventive healthcare services, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 14% from 2022-2032.2

How to become a medical assistant or administrative medical assistant

Though not all states require medical assistants to become certified, many employers opt for certified medical assistants who have gone to school and received a solid education.(4) Completing a program and passing the certification exam could help you to stand out in the hiring process, qualify you for better medical assistant pay, and increase your confidence on the job. Most medical assistant programs take about a year to two years to complete and often lead to a certificate or associate degree.4By successfully graduating from medical assistant school, you could learn foundational medical assistant duties, ethical patient care practices and more!

Medical assistant training at Mildred Elley

At Mildred Elley, we offer medical assistant training to help you succeed. We offer the following training programs to get you started on your medical assistant journey and give you the tools you need:

  • Medical Assistant Associate in Occupational Studies: a comprehensive program designed to cover both administrative and clinical tasks of the medical assistant in 20 months. Students will be trained in industry medical assistant duties and protocols to prepare them for both roles in the medical field. Offered at Albany, NY and New York, NY campuses.
  • Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate: curated for the student seeking to work in a clinical environment. Courses cover human anatomy, patient care skills, and physiology. This program can be completed in 14 months and is offered in Albany Ny, New York, NY, and Pittsfield, MA.

Both programs offer our students the opportunity to earn EKG Certification (CET) and Phlebotomy Certification (CPT), and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA). If you are ready to pursue being a medical assistant as a career, Mildred Elley is here to help! Take control of your future today!

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  1. https://www.nysed.gov/career-technical-education/medical-assisting
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6
  3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-3
  4. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-4




If you’re ready to get started with your career CONTACT US to begin your training!