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What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants fill many roles in a doctor’s office. These healthcare professionals cross-train to perform administrative and clinical duties. They play a vital role in physicians’ offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Medical assistant (MA) duties may differ based on the size, location and specialty of the facility. In some practices, MAs specialize in either administrative or clinical duties. State laws also dictate responsibilities, such as giving patients injections or medications as directed by a doctor.

Job growth for medical assistants is expected to grow 23% from 2018 to 2028. Overall job growth during that same time period is expected to grow 5%.

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A medical assistant takes a patient’s blood pressure
Medical assistants play an important role in keeping doctors’ offices running smoothly. (Credit: VGStockStudio/Shutterstock) 
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Record patient history and other confidential information, which may involve electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Take patient’s vital signs
  • Prepare examination room, including sterilizing equipment
  • Assist the physician or nurse during an exam
  • Prepare blood samples for lab tests
  • Answer phones or email and schedule appointments
  • Manage insurance paperwork and billing
Education + Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Students typically complete training to become a certified medical assistant (CMA) because employers prefer assistants with these credentials. Medical assistants also learn skills through on-the-job training. Programs typically last a year and are available from community colleges, technical schools and universities. These programs usually lead to a certificate or, for longer programs, an associate degree. All programs include classes in anatomy and medical terminology.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You:
  • Have good communication skills
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have a good understanding of medical terminology 
  • Have excellent organizational skills
  • Have analytical and technical skills

Medical Assistant training in your area


Administrative Medical Assistant Certificate

El Paso Community College
El Paso (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assisting Certificate

Phoenix College
Phoenix (0.0 Miles)
Palm Beach State College logo

Medical Assisting Advanced Degree

Palm Beach State College
Lake Worth (0.0 Miles)
Central Community College logo

Medical Assisting, A.A.S.

Central Community College
Grand Island (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assistant Certificate

Middlesex County College
Edison (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assistant Program

Merced College
Merced (0.0 Miles)
Miller Mott College logo

Medical Clinical Assistant

Miller Mott College - Macon
Macon (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assistant, A.A.S.

College of DuPage
Glen Ellyn (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assistant Certificate

Community College of Allegheny County
Pittsburgh (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assistant Program

Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assisting Certificate

Everett Community College
Everett (0.0 Miles)

Medical Assisting, A.A.S.

Vance-Granville Community College
Henderson (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Destiny Powell
Destiny Powell works as a medical assistant at St. Theresa’s OBGYN in Snellville, Georgia
Meet Ambassador
Destiny Powell

Destiny Powell has only been a medical assistant at St. Theresa’s OBGYN in Snellville, Georgia, for a year, but it’s a job she always knew she wanted to do. 

Her mother, who has progressive multiple sclerosis and lupus, was a huge motivation.

“I told my mother that I would take care of her as she gets older,” says Destiny.

It’s a job she loves because it allows her to create a relationship with each patient she meets. 

“I build a bond with them,” says Destiny. “I help make them feel comfortable when they’re seeing the doctor.”

Find out what else Destiny likes about being a medical assistant.

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