Medical assistant training provides students with the job skills and background knowledge needed to perform as a medical assistant in a hospital or other clinical setting. Training for medical assistants consists largely of background knowledge in the basic medical topics that must be familiar to all medical personnel, in addition to hands-on treatment procedures and basic patient care.
Training varies with the type of medical assisting being entered into; clinical medical assistants experience a more clinical training focus than administrative medical assistants, for example. However, for any medical assisting profession, the majority of the necessary education is the same.
What to Expect During Medical Assistant Training
Since medical assisting is a relatively flexible occupation, training may cover a few different areas of clinical, office and administrative practices.
Training for clinical medical assistants focuses the most heavily in this area. Clinical medical assistant training consists of classroom and lecture-based courses in core medical subjects such as:
- Medical Terminology
Additionally, clinical medical assistant training includes hands-on patient care procedures, sometimes in simulated clinical environments. This aspect of medical assistant training teaches students proper treatment protocols, sterilization techniques, infection control, and other areas of patient bedside care.
Some of these areas include:
- Wound Care
- Taking and Interpreting Vitals
- Drawing Blood (Phlebotomy)
- Administering Topical Treatments
- Taking X-Rays
In addition to clinical and patient care practices, training for medical assistants may also include medical office practices. As many MAs perform a combination of clinical and administrative job duties, it is important to be trained in this area as well.
Some areas covered by medical assistant administrative training include:
- Front Office Management
- Phone Etiquette
- Handling Patient Records
- Finance and Accounting Practices
Medical assistant training programs typically require a high school diploma or a GED for enrollment.
While in high school, there are also certain subjects that can help students build a solid foundation for medical training and prepare for a good medical assistant school experience. Some of these courses are:
- Typing and Computer Skills
Upon graduating from high school, achieving strong SAT scores in areas of science will also help students demonstrate a strong foundation for medical practice, though this is not a requirement for becoming a medical assistant.
Where to Find Training
Medical assistant training can be found at a variety of types of school, including junior and community colleges, career schools and universities. The level and quality of education varies from school to school based on factors such as the school’s quality and the degree or credential sought. Accreditation organizations exist to ensure training quality meets medical assistant industry standards.
Online medical assistant schools are also an option for students who can’t make the time commitment to attend a classroom-based program each week. These programs provide the same training as campus-based programs using the Internet and remote communication methods.
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