Becoming a medical office assistant is often a good first step when looking into the healthcare industry. If you are unsure of what you want to do, and you would like to simply get an overview of the profession, an office assistant is a really good choice. With a low requirement for education, a growing job market, and the wide application at all sorts of healthcare offices, it really lets you get your foot in the door.
The education that is required is absolutely minimal when compared to other jobs in the healthcare field. While a high school education used to be the most common prerequisite, many jobs ask for either an associates degree or a certification as a medical office assistant, or as commonly referred to as a medical assistant or MA. Becoming a doctor or nurse requires much more years of schooling and are much more specialized. The education for becoming an MA mainly focuses around office functions, insurance work, basic lessons in anatomy, and possibly lessons to administer shots and take vital signs. The workload is generally much less, and the skills that are learned can often be transferred to any other office scenario.
The growing job market makes finding a job to be a medical office assistant a particularly easy process. The field is growing at an astonishing rate, and the fact that every medical office or hospital needs many MA’s makes it extremely flexible in terms of the location. Regardless of if you want to stay put where you are, or move to a completely new location, there is generally always a doctors office looking for a new medical assistant. This also can give you the ability to try different places and move on if you don’t like the people that you work with. Not many jobs give you those types of options.
Another great part about becoming an MA is that they are needed in literally every type of healthcare field. Whether you want to be working in a podiatrists office, an emergency room, or just general practitioner, you can apply your skills that you learn at any of them. It can also be a great way to make great contacts in the industry, and learn exactly what it entails to be a doctor or a nurse.
While this certainly sounds like a great option to test out the healthcare waters, you may want to really think about it before you take the leap. If you are in an area where all offices require that you have either an associates or MA certification, then you are looking at one to two year commitment to training. If you then work as an MA for one or two years, you are now three to four years older without having started the training to become a doctor or nurse if that is what you choose. The best route might be to first check if you can find an office that only requires a high school degree, that way you will be able to get the best experience out of being a medical office assistant without investing too much time.