The type of medical assistant you have selected to study will determine the day to day job activities you will be tasked with. There are three types of medical assistant roles for specialization:
Clinical Medical Assistants
A clinical medical assistant’s role is focused primarily on patients, assessments and other medical responsibilities. Common tasks for a clinical medical assistant would include, patient examination preparation, documenting patient vitals, assisting physicians during examinations (not to be confused with physician assistants), giving patient instructions on treatments or medications and performing minor medical treatments (changing dressings, x-ray preparations and drawing blood). The responsibilities of a clinical medical assistant are governed by individual state laws, and it is recommended that the laws of your state are reviewed before deciding to become a clinical medical assistant. The range of responsibilities is broad for a clinical medical assistant, but the focus remains more medical than administrative.
Administrative Medical Assistants
The role of an administrative medical assistant is just that, administrative. Standard administrative responsibilities are common, including patient record management, answering phones, appointment management and in some cases billing and general accounting.
Specialized Medical Assistants
Just as a physician can specialize in a particular field of medicine, a specialized medical assistant can do the same. The responsibilities of a specialized medical assistant mirror those of the clinical medical assistant more than the administrative medical assistant. Specialization for medical assisting can be in almost any medical field, including podiatric, optometric or ophthalmic fields.
Medical assistants will report to an administrative manager or in some cases, depending on the size of the office, directly to the physician who see patients. All medical assistant responsibilities will be somewhat different depending on the type and size of the office they employed with. It’s best to focus on the type of medical assistant role you would enjoy the most and look for career opportunities (medical offices and types) that would put more weight towards the areas you enjoy.