When looking for a career, you want something that pays well and is likely to offer plenty of opportunities. Becoming a medical assistant fits the bill.
Medical assistant job opportunities are expected to increase by 18% over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Medical assisting is a rewarding career that lets you exercise skills in a variety of areas. Find out what’s expected of MAs, how much they earn, and how you can find the best traveling medical assistant jobs.
Travel Medical Assistant
While some MAs are content to work for the same facility year after year, others crave adventure and variety in their careers. The role of a travel medical assistant might be perfect for you if you want to explore a variety of options and work in multiple locations.
Travel medical assistants aren’t tied to a single employer. They might work for a month or two at one practice, then spend another month working at a hospital or in another care facility. Travel MAs also get to move from state to state, exploring the country as they pursue a career and earn a living.
Duties and Responsibilities of MAs
Medical assistants work alongside doctors and nurses in hospitals, private physician practices, and other medical facilities. They have both administrative and clinical duties on the job, meaning they provide care to patients and help to keep the practice running smoothly.
Some of the administrative duties an MA might perform include:
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Greeting patients when they arrive
- Answering phones
- Keeping medical records up-to-date
- Completing insurance forms and medical billing
- Scheduling lab tests
- General office management
A medical assistant can also perform clinical tasks, such as:
- Taking patient’s medical histories
- Removing stitches or changing dressings
- Drawing blood
- Collecting lab samples or running certain types of lab test
- Helping doctors or nurses during a physical exam
- Giving patients medications
- Sending in refill requests for prescriptions
The medical assistant job description might vary from facility to facility. Also, some states may have certain rules concerning what an MA can and can’t do.
Since MAs perform such a mix of duties, they need to have a well-rounded skillset. Ideally, a medical assistant will be detail-oriented, good with people, and analytical. They need to be able to follow instructions and keep up-to-date on changing medical technology and regulations.
In a hospital setting, an MA might have a more specialized role. Usually, hospital MAs specialize in either clinical or administrative tasks.
An administrative MA in a hospital will most likely be responsible for scheduling appointments and addressing patients’ concerns about insurance and billing. They work with insurance companies to submit claims.
Clinical MAs in hospital settings usually work directly with patients. Depending on the rules of the state, a clinical MA might sterilize medical instruments before a procedure, perform lab tests, talk to patients about medications, draw blood, remove stitches or help prepare patients for procedures.
Some MAs decide to specialize, much as doctors do. For example, an MA might specialize in podiatry, ophthalmology, or dermatology.
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According to the BLS, the median yearly salary for MAs was $35,850 in 2020. Setting, state and the type of work an MA does can all influence how much they earn, as does an MA’s experience.
The MAs who earned the highest salaries brought in more than $50,580 annually. Meanwhile, those who had the lowest salaries earned less than $26,930.
Medical assistants who work in outpatient care facilities or hospitals tend to have the highest salaries; those who work in private practices or for chiropractors have lower salaries.
Working as a travel medical assistant and going where the need is dire can also mean earning a higher salary than average.
Many states don’t require a medical assistant license or certification. While medical assistant certification isn’t always necessary, you might find it’s a lot easier to find a job if you enroll in a medical assistant training program.
You can usually find MA programs at vocational or technical schools, community colleges, and some four-year universities. Many training programs lead to a diploma or certificate and take a year or two to complete. You might also find a two-year associate’s degree program for medical assistants.
Ideally, a medical assistant program will include classroom instruction as well as labs that give you hands-on training. A program that offers an internship or experience in a clinical setting can also be ideal.
It might be the case that a medical provider is willing to hire an MA without any training or experience. Some MAs get their start after graduating high school and finding a job at a local practice. They learn on the job and build up their skills so that they can move on to higher-paying positions in the future.
While certification isn’t always required, many MAs choose to pursue it to increase their employability. Several organizations offer licensure or certification for MAs:
- American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
- American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- National Center for Competency Testing: National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
- National Healthcareer Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
- National Healthcareer Association: Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
Why Should Medical Assistants Choose TheraEx?
Since travel MAs often go where the need for medical assistants is greatest, they usually earn more than MAs who stay local. Being exposed to a variety of work environments helps them develop their skills more deeply, too.
If working as a traveling MA appeals to you, TheraEx Staffing can place you in roles and help you find medical assistant jobs you won’t find elsewhere.
We’re based in California but place MAs across the country. When you work with us, you have one recruiter who’ll be dedicated to finding you jobs and helping you reach your short and long-term career goals.
We offer loyalty, sign-on, and referral bonuses, along with placing our MAs in positions that pay well. To learn more and get started, contact a member of our recruiting team today.