30-week program/900 hours
2013 Median Pay $34,050 per year
$15.71 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2013 82,450
Job Outlook, 2010-20 31% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2010-20 162,900
What Medical Assistants Do:
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Medical assistants typically do the following:
- Take patient history and measure vital signs
- Help the physician with patient examinations
- Give patient injections as directed by the physician
- Schedule patient appointments
- Prepare blood for laboratory tests
Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing medical assistants’ jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information online. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.
Medical assistants take and record patients’ personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.
Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician’s supervision. For more information, see the profile on physician assistants.
In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.
Administrative medical assistants often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. Some assistants buy and store supplies and equipment for the office.
Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on the state where they work. They may do basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They might have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.
Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to spur demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients. Assistants will likely continue to be used in place of more expensive workers, such as nurses, to reduce costs.
In addition, 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.
Additional demand also is expected as a result of new and changing tasks for medical assistants as part of the medical team. As more and more physicians’ practices switch to electronic health records (EHRs), medical assistants’ job responsibilities will continue to change. Assistants will need to become familiar with EHR computer software, including maintaining EHR security and analyzing electronic data, to improve healthcare information.
The median annual wage of medical assistants was $34,050 in May 2013. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,810, and the top 10 percent earned more than $40,190.
CAJ’s Training Program Description
This cutting edge program will address the intersection of health care, information science, and the new requirements for electronic medical records. The focus of this hands-on program is to learn medical clinical guidelines and procedures, formal medical terminologies, information and communication systems used in the medical field and the myriad skills required to be successful in a medical office settings, including phlebotomy, injections, and EKG. Cost of uniforms/insurance and drug screening is included in the material fees. Training requires mastery of skills, 90% attendance, and an overall C or better average. Students who are recommended may spend six weeks of practical application in assigned supervised health care settings. Job placement assistance is available to all graduates of this program.
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Command of English language
- Immunizations must be completed prior to entering Focus Class. They are: TB/PPD, MMR< Chickenpox (Varicella), Tetanus, and Hepatitis A & B series. Meningococcal & Pneumococcal are recommended
- Earn a Certificate of Completion as a Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy and Informatics Health Care.
- All Instructors have California Teaching Credentials.
- Complete the program in 30 weeks, including a six-week externship.
- Medical Core Classes:
- Medical Terminology & Anatomy Physiology
- Computer Applications
- Customer Service
- Health Information Management
- Clinical (back office) procedures: vital signs; instrument trays/sterilization; charting notes, etc.
- First Aid/CPR
- Malpractice Insurance
- Externship (200 hours)
CAJ Gainful Employment Data:
• Graduation Rate for Completers: 90%
• Placement Rate for Completers: 83%
Required Orientation & Assessment
- Every Wednesday 8:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room.
- Please bring your government issued picture ID (i.e. Driver’s License, DMV ID card, etc).
- NO CHILDREN PLEASE.