If you are interested in pursuing a career in the health care field but don't want to spend the next four or more years in school, you should consider taking a medical assistant program. These programs generally last under a year and offer flexible classroom hours. Federal and state financial aid may be available, and many programs have an online option that is ideal for those who are employed or caring for families. Medical assisting is a wide field with a variety of opportunities that offers many advantages to those employed in the field. Following are four reasons to consider a career in medical assisting.
Successful career planning entails taking the future of the field into account. Opportunities for those with medical assistant training are expected to increase substantially in the coming years, with as much as a 35 percent increase in the year 2016 alone. The expected 10 year job growth outlook is 23 percent, according the United States Department of Labor. As of May of 2014, the average annual pay earned by those employed in the medical assisting field is slightly under $30,000. The number of medical assisting jobs in 2014 was just over 591,000. As the baby boomer population continues to age, jobs opportunities are expected to increase proportionately.
Opportunities for specialization also exist in abundance in the medical assisting field. For instance, if you love working with babies, you can choose elective classes that focus on newborn and infant care. If working with the elderly is your thing, you can opt to specialize in geriatrics.
Working as a medical assistant offers a great deal of flexibility, especially now that many medical facilities no longer operate solely during traditional business hours. Hospitals have always been open 24 hours per day, but an increasing number of small clinics are now offering extended hours. Urgent care clinics, for instance, are typically open during evenings and weekends, making them an ideal workplace for medical assistants who are seeking nontraditional hours. It is also possible for medical assistants to elect to work part time only, which is a good situation for parents of young children or others who need limited work hours. Part time, hourly employees currently make an average of just under $15 an hour.
By the same token, those who desire to work traditional business hours should have no problem finding employment in a private physician's office.
Benefits and Working Conditions
As with other job opportunities in the medical field, the benefits are usually quite good. It is estimated that benefits and bonuses can add an extra $15,000 a year to the average medical assistant's salary. Working conditions are usually good as well. Most medical assistants work in modern, climate controlled offices. Medical assistants also have an incredible amount of diversity available to them when deciding on what type of work they will be doing. For instance, if you prefer to work with people rather than handle administrative duties, you can easily find work in a clinic or other setting where your job duties will involve patient care. Conversely, you can opt to work in the administrative side if that's where your interests lie.
Medical assistants are needed all over the country, which means that you'll be able to pick and choose your geographical location. If you love your current location and have no desire to leave, chances are that you'll be able to find work in your own community. If you've got a lust for adventure, you can choose to accept limited duration travel assignments to places such as Alaska, and if you love to fly on a regular basis, you have the option of hiring on as a medical escort with an air ambulance company.