Medical assistants work in the healthcare industry by providing support services to healthcare facilities. These may include hospitals, clinics and even doctors’ offices. Medical assistants need to perform a variety of administrative and medical duties depending on their individual job description. This may include managing the office, scheduling patients and assisting doctors with medical procedures.

It does not matter which healthcare setting you are working in, if you are a medical assistant, it is understood that you have attended some sort of vocational training center, post-secondary school or a technical school. There are numerous medical assistant programs all over the country that will help you in acquiring training for a job in this capacity.

Two popular medical assistant programs and some features are listed below:

1. Western Career College
a. Four areas of training including clinical, administration, laboratory and externship
b. Follows American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
c. Other areas of study include word processing, critical thinking and legal skills

2. Everest College
a. Area of study include teaching students the skills that are necessary to obtain an entry level position as a medical assistant
b. Accredited with the Commission of Allied Health programs

No matter which medical assistant program you join, you will be required to learn some basic skills which may include patient care and communication, pharmacology, clinical assistance, health sciences, medical insurance information, lab procedures and therapeutic care. You will notice that most of these areas consist of administrative aspects as administration is a very important part of a medical assistant program.

Medical assistant programs may be further divided into clinical courses and clerical courses depending on what is being taught. Regardless of the course, once the coursework is completed, students are required to participate in an externship which may be clocked up to 200 hours. These externships ensure that the students have some hands on experience in understanding basic symptoms, diagnosing diseases and understanding patient needs along with some training on medication management. Since most students opt for a medical assistant program because they do not want to go through the rigmarole of educating themselves as doctors or other nursing professionals, it is of the utmost importance that they know what they are doing. Medicine is a sensitive field and people working in it need to be compassionate and possess extensive knowledge of the field that they are working in.

There are some online medical assistant programs that students can take as well. The US Career Institute in Fort Collins, Colorado offers just such a course where students are required to learn medical first tier procedures and study medical terminology to its very core. They are trained in using medical equipment and understand anatomy, lab procedures along with both pharmacology and radiology. Students studying here receive informative material and are required to perform open-book exams. In addition to this, they are required to complete a practicum at medical offices in the vicinity in order to ensure their readiness for the market.

St. Augustine Educational Services in Atlanta, Georgia is another such institute which provides students with certificate programs in medical assistantship. Students are taught human body planes, medical law, and infection-control along with administrative duties such as scheduling appointments. They are also required to learn skills pertaining to administering injections and measuring pulses.

Medical assistant programs are a dime a dozen; it is actually up to the student (and the geographical location of course) to decide where to go and what kind of certification to acquire because as far as this course is concerned, there are many choices to choose from!