Employer requirements for medical assistants in Western Massachusetts are changing as healthcare changes. The quality and standards for training programs varies widely, with no statewide certification standards. Bilingual medical assistants are particularly in demand.
Medical assistants help doctors, nurses and other medical professionals with both administrative and clinical tasks, most often in a physician’s office.
- Care for patients directly by taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by a physician
- Keep medical offices running smoothly by scheduling appointments, keeping medical records, billing, and insurance coding
- Keep patient health information accurate and secure by reviewing records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with rules and privacy regulations
Employment opportunities can be found in:
- Doctor’s offices
- Community health centers
Education and training requirements
A high school diploma or GED and a certificate training program are required to become a medical assistant. This program should include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Some employers prefer to hire CMAs (certified medical assistants), which requires you to pass an exam.
Since there is no set training standard yet, it is even more important for students considering a medical assistant program to find a high quality program. Only community college programs are eligible for college transfer credits. This is important if you have a plan to advance your career.
Medical assistants are also expected to have:
- Cultural competence, or the ability to work well with people from different cultural backgrounds than your own
- A solid understanding of anatomy, physiology and biology
- Knowledge of patient’s rights and privacy requirements
- Strong oral and written communication and teamwork skills