What It Takes to Become a Certified Medical Assistant
Becoming a certified medical assistant involves more than just enrolling in a course and turning up for class. To succeed in your career, you need to possess a combination of hard and soft skills. Check out the following criteria to determine whether a medical assistant position could be the right fit for you.
Skills and Abilities
Medical assistants are required to carry out a diverse range of tasks on a daily basis, on everything from patient care to administration. Some essential skills are:
- Communication. You will be spending your time speaking with and listening to coworkers and patients — in the case of the latter, many of whom you have never met before. Your job will also require basic writing skills, for creating reports, and a good telephone manner.
- Medical procedures. Medical assistants must carry out a number of procedures, such as monitoring EKGs, drawing blood, charting vital signs, and obtaining initial patient information.
- Customer service. You will need to provide the best quality service to all your patients.
- Office procedures. Medical assistants often spend a significant portion of their time behind the scenes in an office environment, where professionalism and organizational skills play an important role.
- Attention to detail. It is essential that you make no mistakes in patient care, written reports, and charting.
- Problem solving. A great attribute for all medical assistants is the ability to detect a potential problem before it happens.
To pass your exams — for the Registered Medical Assistant, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, and Electronic Health Records Specialist certifications, for example — and to later work independently without constant support and guidance, you need to be knowledgeable on a number of topics.
You will need a good understanding of anatomy, pharmacology, clinical skills, medical law, HIPAA, and CPT, to name just some subjects. For office-related tasks, you should be comfortable using computers, technology, and software. Your job may require you to use:
- Email software
- Medical software, for electronic records, patient management, and diagnoses
- Microsoft Office suite
Interests and Passions
To enjoy your work and provide top patient care, you need to possess a few personal characteristics. You should have the desire to care for others, both in terms of physical care and emotional support. You must have no qualms about making contact with patients and certainly cannot be squeamish around blood and other bodily fluids. Lastly, it is extremely important that you are able to work in a group, as much of your work will involve cooperating with others.
If you are equipped with the above qualities, are eager to learn the essential skills, and want to increase your knowledge, training to become a certified medical assistant could be right for you. Find a school that will provide you with appropriate hands-on training and teach you everything that you need to pass your certification exams and begin your new career.
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