Open up the newspaper classifieds and you'll almost always see job openings for medical assistants. Even in a struggling economy, medical assistants find steady work, stable pay and flexible hours. Not to be confused with physicians assistants, medical assistants perform clerical and administrative duties for physicians.
According to government statistics, the average medical assistant earned between $21,970 and $31,210 in 2006. The median salary in that same year was $26,290. Some medical assistants earn more than $36,000, while others earn below $18,000.
Most medical assistants--more than 60 percent--work in a doctor's office. Twelve percent work in hospitals and 11 percent work in health-care professional offices, such as for podiatrists or chiropractors.
Medical assistants must complete a one- or two-year medical-assistant program after completing high school. Medical-assistant programs are found at community colleges or vocational schools. One year of study usually results in a certificate, while two years culminates with an associate degree.
The U.S. government predicts that the job market for medical assistants will grow 35 percent between 2006 to 2016. This is much faster than other jobs, and makes medical-assistant positions attractive for those looking to work in health care.
Medical assistants must like working with people and be educated in the health-care industry. They must also be flexible enough to provide non-medical support services to doctors, such as filing, checking in patients and bookkeeping.
- Photo Credit medical shave image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com
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