If you have decided on a career in the medical field, you probably already know the healthcare industry is booming. The bureau of labor and statistics shows all jobs within the medical field are set to increase in the coming years. This means one of the most difficult decisions will likely be choosing the right path into the medical field.
Some choose to enter the healthcare industry by obtaining all the required education and participating in an internship or residency. Others choose to rise through the ranks through promotions, and after receiving additional certificates, diplomas and training.
Without a good plan for how to reach your goal of working in the medical field, you may find yourself zig zagging through various jobs, figuring out what you do not want.
You need that perfect steppingstone that can launch you into your career in a short time, and that offers many additional advantages throughout your journey.
Medical assisting may just be that steppingstone. Below are the reasons why.
Administrative and Clinical Training
A degree in medical assisting can prepare you to work in both the administrative and clinical side of healthcare. Most other healthcare jobs are focused on one or the other.
As a medical assistant, you will work directly with patients, under the supervision of nurses and doctors. You will assist them in treating the patient, preparing the patient for their visit, checking and recording vital signs, and assisting in discharge process.
Also, as a medical assistant, you will learn how to complete administrative tasks such as billing, coding, submitting claims, and recording information in patient files. You may also assist in checking-in patients when they arrive for appointments and providing them with discharge details as they leave.
One day you may be asked to draw blood, change sutures or bandaging. The next day you may be asked to process insurance claims.
Learning both the clinical and administrative tasks of working in the medical field allows you to see which side you prefer. You may find you like working with patients directly more than doing administrative tasks or vice versa. Or, you may find you like the variety of working on both sides.
Having experience on both sides can give you a potential edge over competition who may only have experience in one area.
Varied Working Environments
No one wants to jump into a career only to learn they don’t like the environment. This is true for those in the medical field as well. Becoming a medical assistant allows you to work in different healthcare environments, helping you narrow down the places you would want to work in the future.
Medical assistants are hired to work in physician practices, urgent care centers, hospitals, physical therapy practices, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Working in different environments can also give you an idea of what types of patients you prefer to help, or if you prefer to avoid working with patients directly.
Furthering Education is Easy
Being credentialed as a medical assistant means you have taken the required courses, completed training, and past exams that qualify you to work in healthcare. When you decide later to continue your goals to enter a higher-level medical profession, the education and training you have already acquired will be of benefit.
Educational credits, especially those received from a local college, can transfer to other programs. For instance, if you have received an associate degree, those credits will typically transfer into a bachelor’s degree program.
Medical assistants can continue their education into fields to become registered nurses, vocational nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. It can also set the foundation for you to enter a medical degree program.
The medical assisting field offers you opportunities to help others. You can make a positive impact on patients, caregivers and family members, and even on your fellow co-workers. And you can ease the fears of patients who may be nervous about their appointment, test results or test preparation.
You can help family members and caregivers better understand the needs of the patient, and what they can do to encourage the patient to follow through with their treatment plan.
Helping others can make you feel rewarded, which means you may be more satisfied with your job.
Working in the healthcare industry means you will likely be provided with great medical insurance, at little or no cost to you. Benefit packages can include mental and physical health, and sometimes alternative healthcare.
Depending on where you work, you may have access to a cafeteria, gym, swimming pool, and other activities provided by the employer.
Early Foot in the Door
Higher level positions in the medical field are not usually acquired with education alone. Instead, employers search for candidates who have the right education, work experience and training in the field, and are well-rounded.
They want to see you can work well with other staff, that you give back to your community in some way, that you can adapt to change, and any other skills that will benefit your position in the medical industry. And let’s face it, sometimes getting a higher-level position is influenced by who you know and how they can vouch for your abilities.
Working as a medical assistant first can give you this foot in the door to meet and impress industry influencers who will be happy to report you are capable, can work on a team, and would be an asset to the organization.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the ways medical assisting can be a steppingstone into the medical field. Medical assistants are needed all over the world. You are not tied to one specific area. And you also get to learn the most advanced technologies and work flexible hours if needed.
You can do all this while considering which medical field specialty you want to enter. Or, you may realize just how great it is to be a medical assistant and choose to stay in that career.