Careers in Medical Assisting
Are you interested in the growing field of healthcare but maybe aren’t sure exactly which route to take? Have you ever thought of becoming a medical assistant? If so, Southern Union State Community College’s Medical Assisting Technology (MAT) Program may be for you!
What does a medical assistant do? This is a tricky question to answer because medical assistants have perhaps the most flexible role within the medical field. Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice. Medical assistants typically do the following:
+ Record patient history and personal information
+ Measure vital signs
+ Assist providers with patient examinations
+ Administer medications as directed by providers
+ Schedule patient appointments
+ Perform phlebotomy and prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
+ Prepare patients for diagnostic testing
+ Perform electrocardiography
What specializations are available? 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. They also answer telephones and schedule patient appointments. Clinical medical assistants may perform basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They may have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, removing sutures or staples, drawing blood, or changing wound dressings.
What is the job outlook for a medical assistant? The employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent by 2026— much faster than the average for other occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services. As a result, physicians are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing physicians to see more patients. Medical assistants who earn certifications and have familiarity with electronic health records (EHRs) may be more competitive for employment. Southern Union’s MAT program currently prepares the student for the following certification exams: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Certified EKG Technician (CET) Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT/A) Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS).
How can I become a medical assistant? Southern Union offers a variety of pathways within the MAT Program:
+ Phlebotomy Certificate (2 semesters): Students complete a 180-hour phlebotomy practicum within the lab setting to gain in-field experience.
+ Multi-Care Technician Certificate (3 semesters): Includes phlebotomy training.
+ Administrative Medical Assistant Certificate (3 semesters): Focused on administrative tasks. Students complete a 180-hour administrative practicum within an outpatient setting to gain in-field experience.
+ Medical Assistant Technician Certificate or Degree (5 semesters): Includes clinical task training, administrative skill training, and practicums focused on both phlebotomy and administrative tasks.
At Southern Union, all of our time is not spent within the classroom walls. We frequently work with community partners to help bring awareness to the importance of a healthy lifestyle! Southern Union’s MAT program recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County and performed 112 free glucose screenings during a community event!
Learn more at www.suscc.edu!