A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs various clinical and administrative tasks under the direction and supervision of a physician. Their duties may vary depending on location, specialty, or size of the practice. Amidst a growing healthcare industry, trained medical assistants are in high demand: The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of medical assistants will grow 29 percent by 2026. 
Medical Assistant Career Overview
Medical assisting is a career opportunity for those looking to work in an expanding industry, employ a wide range of skills, and interact with a variety of people. The benefits of becoming a medical assistant include a relatively short training period, high demand in the labor market , and a number of career advancement options. 
Medical Assistant Duties
Medical assistants are trained to assume a variety of both clinical and administrative responsibilities. Clinical duties may include preparing patients for examinations, measuring vital signs, administering medications as directed by a physician, collecting samples for testing, or cleaning medical instruments. Administrative tasks can involve recording patient’s medical information, performing lab tests, scheduling appointments, or completing insurance forms. What a medical assistant does also depends on their work environment. They typically work in physician offices, hospitals, clinics, and urgent cares. Medical assistants often function as a liaison between patient and physician. 
Medical Assistant Requirements
If you are interested in becoming a medical assistant, your best chance is to obtain postsecondary education through a medical assisting program. While some enter the profession with just a high school diploma, those who completed a training program tend to have better job prospects.  Delta Tech’s medical assistant training program can be completed in as little as nine months. This allied health training program trains students in essential clinical procedures as well as administrative office practices.
Furthermore, those seeking to work as medical assistants ought to have a broad skill set, including active listening, critical thinking, social perceptiveness, time management, problem sensitivity, and deductive reasoning.
Medical Assistant Certification
Upon completion of a medical assisting training program, graduates may want to look into industry certification. Among the most commonly known credentials are Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), and National Medical Assistant (NCMA).
What is a Certified Medical Assistant?
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a credential for medical assistants. The CMA examination is developed and administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered in four 40-minute segments.  Individuals are eligible to take the exam if they meet one of the following three criteria:
- Completing student or recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program
- Non-recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program
- CMA (AAMA) recertification 
What is a Registered Medical Assistant?
A number of organizations provide a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential, such as American Medical Technologists (AMT)  and the American Registry for Medical Assistants (ARMA).  Other credentials in the field include the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing, the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association, and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association. 
What is the National Medical Assistant Certification?
The National Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification is a credential offered through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). The exam consists of standard multiple-choice questions, but may also include some innovative item types.  There are three eligibility routes for those who wish to take the NCMA exam:
- Student/Graduate: Current student in a medical assistant program from an NCCT authorized school OR graduate from a medical assistant program from an NCCT authorized school within the past five years
- Experience: Two years of verifiable full-time experience as a medical assistant within the past five years
- Military: Completed medical assistant training or equivalent during U.S. Military service within the past five years 
The advantage of such an industry credential is that it can help employers assess whether a job applicant has the skills and knowledge needed for the position of medical assistant. In addition, some state and federal laws require certification in order to work in medical assisting. Certification may also increase earning potential. 
Medical Assistant Career Outlook
The BLS reveals that the job outlook for medical assistants is significantly better than average. The employment in this field is expected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026. One major reason is that the number of aging baby boomers continues to grow, which in turn increases the demand for preventative health services. As physicians will see more patients, they will hire more medical assistants to help with administrative and clinical duties. Career prospects are particularly promising for medical assistants who have earned certification and are familiar with electronic health records (EHRs).  Advanced career opportunities include leadership roles like clinical team leader, medical office managers, healthcare administrator, or medical records manager.  Medical assistants may also pursue continuing education to become registered nurses, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners.
Medical Assistant Salary
Students who graduated from Delta Technical College’s medical assisting program on average earn $17, 544 per year.  How much a medical assistant makes can vary by industry and location. The BLS reports that the top-paying industries for this occupation are junior colleges; colleges, universities, and professional schools; dental offices; computer systems design and related services; and personal care services. 
There are a number of occupations similar to medical assisting in the healthcare industry, according to the BLS:
- Dental Assistants
- Dental Hygienists
- Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Medical Records & Health Information Technicians
- Nursing Assistants & Orderlies
- Occupational Therapy Assistants & Aides
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Physical Therapist Assistants & Aides
- Psychiatric Technicians & Aides 
Delta Tech’s Medical Assisting Program
Are you interested in taking the next step toward becoming a medical assistant? Delta Tech’s medical assistant training is 35 weeks (9 months) and offers both daytime and evening classes. Learn more about our Medical Assisting Program.
-  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6
-  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6