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Administrative Medical Assistant: Job Description and Requirements

Working as an administrative medical assistant requires no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Administrative medical assistants are responsible for the everyday happenings in a clinical office. They generally work in the front desk, dealing with patients, filing medical records and handling insurance forms. There are no formal educational requirements, and most of the training is performed on the job. However, there are programs that provide certification, which proves students' competency to potential employers.

Required Education None mandatory, but a high school diploma is typically desired; certificate and associate's degree programs in medical and administrative assistance are available
Certification Voluntary; programs accredited by the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) lead to certification eligibility
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 29% for medical assistants*
Mean Salary (2013) $30,780 for medical assistants*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Administrative Medical Assistant Job Description

Administrative medical assistants perform clerical work in doctors' and hospital offices. It is their responsibility to keep all patient files organized and to maintain the front office. They file medical records and handle administrative duties, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments.

These administrative medical assistants are also responsible for managing insurance forms. They use their knowledge and understanding of medical terminology and insurance procedures to act as a liaison between the patient and the insurance agency.

Depending on the size of the office, administrative medical assistants may also be required to assist doctors and work with patients. Typically, these duties include taking vital signs, drawing blood and sterilizing medical instruments.

Administrative Medical Assistant Requirements

Educational Requirements

There are no formal educational requirements for administrative medical assistants, but most employers mandate at least a high school diploma for all new employees. Very often, certification is not required, and all new employees are trained on the job. However, for students who are serious about becoming an administrative medical assistant, there are certification programs available. Vocational schools and community colleges offer medical assistant training programs that usually last 1-2 years and result in a certificate or an associate's degree.

Certification Information

Students in administrative medical assistant programs learn basic medical terminology and procedures, as well as administrative tasks, such as typing and record keeping. They also study medical law and ethics, which prepares them to work in a clinical setting.

Students interested in receiving certification should attend a school accredited by one of the two medical assistant accreditation bodies, the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students with the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation must be re-certified every 60 months by completing continuing education hours.

Administrative Medical Assistant Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical assistants could see a 29% projected increase in employment opportunities from 2012-2022. This significant increase was due in part to an aging baby boomer population in need of medical services. Medical assistants made a mean yearly wage of $30,780 in May 2013.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics