Medical Assistants

Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.

Sample of reported job titles: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Chiropractor Assistant, Clinical Medical Assistant, Doctor's Assistant, Health Assistant, Ophthalmic Assistant, Ophthalmological Assistant, Optometric Assistant, Outpatient Surgery Assistant, Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Interview patients to obtain medical information and measure their vital signs, weight, and height.
  • Clean and sterilize instruments and dispose of contaminated supplies.
  • Record patients' medical history, vital statistics, or information such as test results in medical records.
  • Explain treatment procedures, medications, diets, or physicians' instructions to patients.
  • Prepare treatment rooms for patient examinations, keeping the rooms neat and clean.
  • Collect blood, tissue, or other laboratory specimens, log the specimens, and prepare them for testing.
  • Show patients to examination rooms and prepare them for the physician.
  • Help physicians examine and treat patients, handing them instruments or materials or performing such tasks as giving injections or removing sutures.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests and sample analyses.
  • Greet and log in patients arriving at office or clinic.
  • Perform general office duties, such as answering telephones, taking dictation, or completing insurance forms.
  • Prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician.
  • Authorize drug refills and provide prescription information to pharmacies.
  • Change dressings on wounds.
  • Schedule appointments for patients.
  • Inventory and order medical, lab, or office supplies or equipment.
  • Contact medical facilities or departments to schedule patients for tests or admission.
  • Operate x-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), or other equipment to administer routine diagnostic tests.
  • Set up medical laboratory equipment.
  • Keep financial records or perform other bookkeeping duties, such as handling credit or collections or mailing monthly statements to patients.

back to top

Technology Skills

  • Accounting software — Billing software; Bookkeeping software; Intuit QuickBooks Hot technology
  • Calendar and scheduling software — Appointment scheduling software
  • Categorization or classification software — Diagnostic and procedural coding software
  • Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint Hot technology
  • Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Database software Hot technology ; Microsoft Access Hot technology
  • Document management software — IDX Systems Patient Chart Tracking
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Exchange Hot technology ; Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software
  • Medical software — Epic Systems Hot technology ; Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS Hot technology ; Medical condition coding software Hot technology ; MEDITECH software Hot technology ; 6 more
  • Network conferencing software — Microsoft Office SharePoint Server MOSS
  • Office suite software — Business software applications; Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Microsoft Windows Vista Business; Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

back to top

Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

back to top

Work Context

back to top

Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

back to top

Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

back to top

Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

back to top

Knowledge

  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

back to top

Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • Post-secondary certificate required for some jobs
  • High school diploma or equivalent required for some jobsmore info
  • Some college, no degree required for some jobsmore info

back to top

Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.

back to top

Interests

Interest code: SCR
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

back to top

Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

back to top

Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$17.88 hourly, $37,190 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
720,900 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Much faster than average (15% or higher)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
104,400
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

back to top

More Information

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top