What is a Medical Assistant? Taking a closer look at this profession

Are you interested in starting a career as a medical assistant? Medical assistants, also known as clinical or healthcare assistants, are allied health professionals who support the work of physicians, nurses, dentists, and other health professionals. They are the bridge between every patient and the healthcare professionals, ensuring patients feel comfortable during their medical appointments and understand doctors’ recommendations.

In this article, you will take a closer look at the role of a medical assistant, so you can make a better decision if you are considering starting this career. Here are the contents involved:

  1. What is the job of a medical assistant?
  2. What are the tasks of a medical assistant?
  3. Where do medical assistants work?
  4. What skills are required to become a medical assistant?
  5. What are the advantages of becoming a clinical assistant?
  6. How much do medical assistants earn?
  7. What is the employment outcome for medical assistants?
  8. How to become a medical assistant?
  9. What are the requirements to work as a medical assistant in the UAE?
  10. How can Connect Health help you find a job as a medical assistant in the UAE?

1. What is the job of a medical assistant?

Clinical assistants do a little bit of everything in the medical office. From administrative duties to clinical tasks. They work on the frontlines as well as behind the scenes to keep operations running accordingly. You can usually find medical assistants doing tasks like welcoming patients, recording their history, preparing samples for lab tests, measuring vital signs, helping physicians, or scheduling patient appointments.

The list of tasks a medical assistant does on a normal day will vary depending on the healthcare facility in which they work, but we will discuss them in detail in the coming lines.

2. What are the tasks of a medical assistant?

The medical assistant role can be both administrative and clinical. As a medical assistant, you are basically in charge of a healthcare center or a physician’s office.

While the education medical assistants receive can be pretty similar, their duties may differ quite a bit depending on several factors such as the size of the healthcare facility, the location where they work (rural vs urban), and the specialty of the physician.

Some common administrative duties a medical assistant performs on a daily basis are:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Welcoming patients and their families when they arrive at the facility
  • Updating and filling out medical records
  • Filling out insurance forms
  • Arranging for laboratory services and hospital admissions
  • Handling billing, correspondence, and bookkeeping
  • Cleaning the healthcare facility

Clinical work is also very important, these are the tasks you learn when you go to school. Some of them are: 

  • Interviewing patients and filling out their family histories.
  • Preparing the examination room for the specialist.
  • Seeing patients and preparing them for what to expect during their examination.
  • Take vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, and body temperature.
  • Assisting the physician during procedures or examinations.
  • Preparing medications
  • Taking laboratory samples such as blood or urine.
  • Educating patients about dieting and medications.
  • Administering intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous medications.
  • Administering vaccines.
  • Filling out prescription refills.
  • Take electrocardiograms (EKGs).

3. Where do medical assistants work?

Once the healthcare assistant has completed their education and acquired some experience, there will be many job opportunities available due to the increasing demand for people practicing this health profession. The majority of medical assistants work in a physician’s office, but you can also work in clinics, hospitals, or long-term care facilities. 

Another option would be to work in a university or college campus that has its own hospital or clinic. Medical assistants can also find a medical receptionist job in a mental health center, an insurance company handling administrative tasks, or a medical research center.

4. What skills are required to become a medical assistant?

At this point, it should be clear that most of a medical assistant’s work is centered around the office. So, it should not be surprising that some soft skills are indispensable for the job. But do not think that you will not need training, there are also many hard skills that are just as important to be successful in this career.

We used job analysis software to examine more than 250,000 Medical assistant jobs posted over the last year. This information helped us spot the top skills employers are looking for in medical assistants and make a list.

4.1. Top soft skills

According to the data, the most important soft skills for a medical assistant are communication, computer literacy, organization, multitasking, telephone etiquette, good manners, teamwork, physical endurance, attention to detail, and speaking more than one language.

4.2. Top hard skills

The top hard skills for a medical assistant are: Patient care, vital signs measurement, electrocardiogram (EKG), taking samples, injecting, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), patient preparation, customer service, and electronic medical record management

5. What are the advantages of becoming a clinical assistant?

There are many benefits that come with a medical assistant job that may convince you to choose this career. From entering early to the workforce to working in a team, we will describe a few below.

5.1. Start your career quickly

While most degrees in the healthcare space require from 3 to 6 years of education, a medical assistant associate degree can be completed in 18 months. If 18 months is too much time for you, you can complete a medical assistant diploma in as little as 12 months. If entering the healthcare workforce early is a top priority for you, there is no better option than becoming a medical assistant.

5.2. Working in a team

Medical assistants work as team members. They will be dealing alongside healthcare professionals, technicians, and medical directors. Medical assistants also build a good relationship with their patients, connecting with them at many levels. All these interactions with everyone in the facility will not let medical assistants get bored during their workday. 

5.3. Working in a specialty role

Medical assistants have the opportunity to work in special roles. For example, if they work in a physiotherapy center, they could be developing x-rays, making casts of feet, and even assisting the physician while he is performing surgery on a patient. If they choose to work in a plastic surgery facility, their clinical tasks could include sterilizing medical equipment, giving patients injections, preparing the room for surgery, etc.

Other benefits include growing into a career, the satisfaction and fulfillment of helping and comforting patients, and working a stable job.

6. How much do medical assistants earn?

The average annual wage for a medical assistant comes around $36,000. The medical assistants in the bottom 10 percent earn around $26,000, meanwhile, the ones in the top 10 percent earn more than $50,000 per year. A clinical assistant in the UAE earns on average AED 60,000 per year.

Factors such as experience, employer settings, and geographic location can also influence your earning potential as a medical assistant. In general, the more qualified you are (Registered medical assistants earn more than certified medical assistants), and the more experience you have acquired, the bigger your paycheck will be.

7. What is the employment outcome for medical assistants?

The employment rates for medical assistants are projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030, almost 5 times faster than the average for all occupations. The aging of the baby boomer population requiring continuous medical attention, the advancement of medical technology as well as a continuous increase in the number of clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and physician’s offices are some of the reasons why medical assistance is among the most demanded jobs in the UAE.

8. How to become a medical assistant?

Now that you have heard everything about the clinical assistant job description and salary, you might be even more confident that this is the healthcare career you are looking for. In order to become a medical assistant, the first step is to earn a medical assisting certification. While it is true that some may be able to find a medical assistant job straight out of high school, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says most employers prefer to hire registered medical assistants (RMAs) or certified medical assistants (CMAs).

The second step is to build medical experience with internships. In addition to coursework and laboratories in your medical assisting program, you will also want to complete an internship towards the end of your program.

During these months, you will get the opportunity to apply the skills you have been learning in the classroom at a clinic, hospital, or physician’s office. Not only will this experience give you points on your resume, but you will also feel confident about your skills when the real work comes.

The last step is to get certified and apply for a license once you have completed your education. Requirements for licensing constantly vary from country to country, but usually, you will need to pass an exam to get certified. If employers in your area do not require certification, remember that pursuing one is a magnificent way to help boost your resume and stand out from the crowd when applying.

9. What are the requirements to work as a medical assistant in the UAE?

In order to work as a medical assistant in the UAE, you will need to get a MOH (Ministry of Health), DHA (Dubai Health Association), or HAAD (Health Authority of Abu Dhabi) license, depending on the place where you want to get a job.

In order to apply for a healthcare license in the UAE after studying abroad, you will need the next requirements:

  • Finish a medical assistant program with at least one year in training.
  • Have a Basic Life Support (BLS) Certificate.
  • 6 or more months of experience as a medical assistant.

If you are interested in working in Dubai, you can apply for a DHA license and take the required exam online. Here is the list of the documents you need to have at disposal for the application process:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • A passport-size photo with white background
  • Training certificates
  • A Medical assistant diploma or associate degree
  • Registration certificates
  • Verifications and registration certificates from all the places where the applicant has worked in
  • Two employment references confirming their good character and good health.
  • Transcript of all the relevant training the applicant has successfully completed. These need to come with a letter from the training facility indicating how the credits translate to hours.

Once the application process has been completed, you will need to take an exam. In order to pass the test, you will need to answer correctly 60% of the questions. You will be able to check the results after 5 working days. If you pass the test, you will receive an eligibility letter that will allow you to work as a medical assistant in Dubai. The whole licensing process costs AED 1,142.

10. How can Connect Health help you find a job as a medical assistant in the UAE?

If you are searching for a medical assistant position in the UAE, Connect Health can make things easier for you. In order to apply for a medical assistant vacancy, you just need to create an account in our webpage and choose the jobs that seem right for you. We recommend that you read the job descriptions and requirements carefully before applying.

If you are an employer searching for a health professional, we can help you find the best option for your business. We have a vast database where you can search for the ideal candidate, or if you are looking for something more specific, feel free to post a job vacancy on our webpage.

Would you like to contact Connect Health to obtain information about medical field jobs in the UAE? Just call us at +971 433 166 88 or send us an email to info@connecthealth.ae to get in contact with one of our representatives who will gladly answer all of your questions.

If you want to submit your CV or resume, visit thetalentpoint.com. We do not keep any documents sent to contact@thetalentpoint.com.

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