Medical Assistant Job Description (Skills, Duties, Salary, Certification & More)


By Jeff Gillis

If you’ve ever worked as a medical assistant, you know how many different hats you need to be able to put on at all times. One second, you answer the phone to make an appointment, the next, you explain an upcoming procedure to a patient!

Medical assistants can be found working in hospitals and other smaller medical facilities and offices. As we’ll cover, medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks and do so under the supervision of nurses and other physicians.

Now let’s dig deeper to see exactly what it takes to become a successful medical assistant and how you can use the job description to your advantage in your job interview!

Tasks and responsibilities of the medical assistant

As we have seen, medical assistants often wear two hats and take care of both administrative and clinical tasks.

According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), here are some common examples (obviously, they can change depending on where the job is located):

Administrative tasks (may include, but is not limited to):

    • Use of computer applications
    • Answer phones
    • Patient reception
    • Updating and filing of patient medical records
    • Coding and filling in of insurance forms
    • Making appointments
    • Organization of hospital admissions and laboratory services
    • Management of correspondence, invoicing and accounting

Clinical tasks (may include, but is not limited to):

    • Taking a medical history
    • Explain treatment procedures to patients
    • Preparing patients for the exam
    • Assist the doctor during examinations
    • Collection and preparation of laboratory samples
    • Perform basic laboratory tests
    • Inform patients about medications and special diets
    • Prepare and administer medication as directed by a physician
    • Submit prescription renewals as indicated
    • Shed blood
    • Taking electrocardiograms
    • Remove sutures and change dressings

Source: American Association of Medical Assistants

Obviously, these tasks can change depending on the specific job you are applying for. This is why it is essential that you go through your job description with a fine tooth comb. But we’ll discuss that later in a little while …

AAMA (founded 1956) has also produced a very useful professional analysis of the post of medical assistant. Let’s take a look at some of their key findings …

Here are the top 12 responsibilities most frequently exercised by medical assistants during the investigation:

    • Respect the principles and laws related to confidentiality
    • Adapt communications to an individual’s understanding
    • Show respect for individual diversity (culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, age, economic status)
    • Use professional techniques during verbal, non-verbal and textual interactions
    • Respect risk management and security procedures
    • Interact with staff and patients to optimize workflow efficiency
    • Maintain patient records
    • Provide care within legal and ethical limits
    • Practice standard precautions
    • Document patients, observations and clinical treatments
    • Identify the potential consequences of failure to operate in the practice of a medical assistant
    • Transmit information electronically

(I thought it was interesting to add this information from the AAMA investigation as it comes from medical assistants in the field and “in the trenches”.)

What skills do medical assistants need?

Here are some common medical assistant skills employers will look for.

REMARK: It is important to carefully consider the skills of your medical assistant job description.

    • Procurement management
    • Verbal communication
    • Infection control
    • Create a safe and efficient environment
    • Organization
    • Planning
    • Professionalism
    • Confidentiality
    • Bedside manner
    • Professionalism
    • Customer service
    • Inventory management
    • Bedside manner
    • Planning
    • Medical teamwork
    • Patient care
    • Vital signs measurement
    • Injection
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
    • Phlebotomy
    • Patient preparation
    • Life support
    • Medical terminology
    • Patient / family education
    • Making appointments
    • Electronic medical records
    • Medical coding
    • Patient flow
    • Computer knowledge
    • Telephone skills
    • Collaboration
    • Multitasking
    • Analytical skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Personal skills
    • Manual dexterity
    • Empathy
    • Stress management
    • Self control

As you can see, an employer could look for many potential skills in a medical assistant! But don’t worry, in a future section I’ll show you how to refine the right skills from your particular job description and use them to your advantage!

Medical assistant certificate

Although it is not required by law to be certified to work as a medical assistant, you will find that with increasing competition in the job market, getting certified is a good idea.

Here is a quote from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Medical assistants are expected to have good employment prospects; However, those who become certified and are familiar with electronic health records (EHRs) may have better employment prospects.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 most recommended medical assistant certifications in the United States:

    • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
      • Certification body : American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
    • Licensed medical assistant (ARM)
      • Certification body : American Medical Technologists (AMT)
    • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
      • Certification body : National Center for Proficiency Testing (NCCT)
    • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
      • Certification body : National Association of Healthcare Professionals (NHA)
    • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
      • Certification body : National Association of Healthcare Professionals (NHA)

For more information on medical assistant certifications, check out this great article on

Growth in medical assistant employment

One of the best aspects of becoming a medical assistant is your spectacular growth prospects in the job market.

Check out this quote from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“The employment of medical assistants is is expected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby boom population will continue to increase the demand for preventative medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As a result, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical tasks, allowing physicians to see more patients. “

Medical Assistant Salary

Here is the official information, again from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The the median annual salary for medical assistants is approximately $ 33,610. The median wage is the wage at which half of workers in an occupation earned more than this amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 24,790 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $ 47,250.

The median annual salaries of medical assistants in the main industries in which they worked were as follows:

Ambulatory care centers $ 35,600
Hospitals; state, local and private $ 34,980
Doctors’ offices $ 33,650
Offices of chiropractors $ 29,960

Most medical assistants work full time. Some work evenings, weekends, or holidays to cover shifts in medical facilities that are always open.

The source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to use the job description for your job interview

Many job seekers take a quick glance at the job description and then move on.

Big mistake.

The job description always contains the skills and qualities that the company or organization is looking for in its ideal candidate, and it is your job to make sure that you show them you have these skills during the interview. hiring.

How do you do this, you ask?

Use the personalization method when answering all interview questions of course!

You want to answer the medical assistant interview questions you face by highlighting the skills and qualities that prevail in the job description, and use a “success story” from your past that provides concrete evidence that you are demonstrating the skill. (Especially for behavioral interview questions.)

Remember when we went through a bunch of common skills employers look for in a medical assistant? Well, now is the time to take a detailed look at your job description and find the skills and qualities that you have and use them in your answers!

JEFF’S TIP: As we have seen, medical assistants have to wear several different hats at work. Therefore, make sure you have answers ready that show you have both administrative and clinical skills. (Those taken from the job description of course)

Put it all together

I hope this distribution of the post of medical assistant has been helpful. We have reviewed the different tasks, skills and qualities needed to become a successful medical assistant as well as the certifications that can help you in this career.

The profession of medical assistant is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States, so there are plenty of opportunities for you there.

Good luck!

Discover our others “Job description items” if you are exploring career options:

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