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Medical Assistant Job Description

A medical assistant learns to handle virtually any type of support work in a doctor's office or in a medical environment.�� The Department of Labor lists several medical assistant specialties: an overview of those possibilities gives a good idea of just how varied this profession can be.

Administrative medical assistants work with medical records, insurance company correspondence, and the clerical requirements for scheduling patient appointments for lab tests and exams.�� Duties may extend to answering the phone, handling scheduling for the doctor and performing billing functions.

Clinical medical assistants work directly with patients, bringing them into the exam room, taking vital signs and preparing them for the doctor's examination.�� The degree to which a clinical medical assistant can perform medical procedures varies from state to state.�� They may collect specimens, draw blood, and even perform some laboratory tests in the office.�� A properly trained medical assistant can perform an electrocardiogram test, authorize drug refills and explain medication to patients.

Ophthalmic medical assistants assist in an ophthalmologist's office providing treatments, information and general eye care that does not require direct contact with the doctor.�� They can conduct vision tests and medical diagnostic procedures.�� They may apply dressings or change them.�� Other options include work with an optometrist or a podiatrist.

Medical assistants generally obtain certification from a medical assistant school, a process that can take nine months to a year.�� From that point, an individual in the profession can pursue specialization within the field by seeking out employment with a physician, a clinic or a hospital where more training is available.

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