A valued member of the health professions team is the Medical Assistant. Medical Assistants perform the administrative and clinical tasks that keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors and optometrists running smoothly. Their administrative duties include greeting patients, answering telephones, scheduling appointments, updating and filing medical records, and filling out insurance forms. The clinical duties of a Medical Assistant vary according to state laws, but typically include preparing patients for the examination and recording their medical histories. Assistants may also take vital signs, prepare and administer medications as directed, perform basic laboratory tests, draw blood, remove sutures or change dressings.
Most employers today prefer formal training. You may attend a one-year program leading to a certificate or diploma or a two-year program leading to an associate degree; these are offered at vocational/technical schools, community colleges and some four-year colleges and universities. Academic courses include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, typing and transcription. Some medical assistants are still trained on the job.
Two national entities accredit medical assisting programs and offer a voluntary credential. Graduates of programs accredited in collaboration with the American Association of Medical Assistants may choose to take the Certified Medical Assistant examination; those graduating from programs accredited in collaboration with American Medical Technologists may take the Registered Medical Assistant exam.
- Calhoun Community College – Division of Health
- Lurleen B. Wallace Community College
- South University
- Southern Union State Community College
- Trenholm State Technical College
- Virginia College – Birmingham and Montgomery
- Wallace Community College
- Wallace State Community College