Medical Assistant Career Overview
The Southwestern Illinois College Medical Assistant (MA) program prepares graduates to provide both administrative and clinical services in a medical office.
Medical Assistants provide administrative services such as:
- Managing the flow of patients in and out of the office
- Updating and filing medical records
- Filling out insurance information
- Arranging for hospital admission or laboratory services
Under supervision, they also provide clinical services such as:
- Direct (hands-on) patient care procedures
- Monitoring vital signs
- Explaining treatment procedures
- Preparing patients for examinations
- Sterilizing instruments
- Performing routine laboratory procedures
- Performing electrocardiograms
The SWIC Career Activities and Employment Center offers a Career Mentor program, including job shadowing.
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) website provides valuable career and certification information.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook provides additional information regarding the MA field.
Medical Assistant vs. Physician’s Assistant
Medical Assistant should not be confused with Physician’s Assistant. SWIC does not offer a PA program.
For more information about Physician’s Assistants, see the American Academy of Physician Assistants website.
Medical Assistants work in a wide range of medical facilities including:
- Ambulatory care centers
- Urgent care facilities
- Physician’s offices
- Inpatient/outpatient facilities
The cross-training of the Medical Assistant in administrative and clinical duties frequently makes the MA more marketable than individuals specializing in office management only.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor 2019-29 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 19 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Average Starting Salary
The average starting salary is $30,000 depending on the facility and the training and skills of the medical assistant.
Certified medical assistants earn approximately 5 to 10 percent more than non-certified medical assistants.