What it Takes to be a Medical Assistant

Posted Monday, Jul 18, 2011 by Allen B. Ury

Medical AssistantMedical assistants are in high demand both in Massachusetts in particular and in the United States as a whole. Nationwide, medical assistant job opportunities are projected to increase 34 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to O*NET Online, the web-based employment resource sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Drawing data from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, O*NET also reports that medical assistant employment in the state is expected to increase 20 percent over the same 10-year period.*

Medical assisting is a growing field with a lot of offer many people. If you’re considering becoming a medical assistant, you may be asking yourself, “Am I right for this job? What does it take to be a medical assistant?”

Here are some of the principal assets you need to bring to the table if you want to pursue a medical assistant career.

• Education. Medical assisting is a specialty that usually requires at least one year of training in the academic and practical aspects of the profession. Look for a program that is (1) taught by instructors with actual experience in the field, and (2) offers a lot of hands-on training in the job’s most common procedures.

• Professionalism. The physicians, clinics and other employers who hire medical assistants tend to look for candidates who project a high degree of professionalism in their dress, grooming, behavior and attitude. This usually means being on-time, having your hair washed and trimmed, having an enthusiastic demeanor and being able to accept and successfully execute instructions. Also, in most situations, having visible tattoos is a no-no.

• Empathy. Medical assistants tend to spend a lot of time with patients, many of whom are anxious, upset or perhaps downright terrified. A good medical assistant is someone who can make people feel at ease and develop a relationship of trust.

• Organizational Skills. In addition to working with patients, many medical assistants also have clerical responsibilities. They often create and maintain medical records, set appointments, and may also handle invoicing and insurance paperwork.

• Discretion. Privacy is a major issue in the medical field. Doctor-patient privilege is protected by law, and it extends to medical assistants as well. As a medical assistant, you need to be able to keep secrets and avoid taking about specific cases you encounter, even to your best friends.

• Enthusiasm. As in any profession, a candidate who is positive, upbeat, open to suggestions and eager to make a difference is going to have an edge over someone who is obviously just looking for a way to pay the bills.

Medical Assistant Training at Everest Institute in Chelsea

If the medical assistant field is something that intrigues you, you can get the training and career support you need to get started at Everest Institute in Chelsea. Everest offers an eight-month program that provides a solid background in medical concepts and terminology, plus intensive hands-on training in basic medical procedures and medical laboratory work.

Classes are taught by industry professionals who are able to provide practical insights as well as academic instruction. Upon graduation, Everest students can get ongoing support from the school’s Career Services department, which offers help with resume preparation, interviewing techniques and identifying and contacting local employers.

Everest Institute is located at 70 Everett Avenue in Chelsea, MA (02150), just north of the Northeast Expressway (Highway 1). Class schedules are flexible to help meet the needs of working adults. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information on Everest’s Medical Assistant program or other career education programs, contact Everest today!

For information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at

* Source: O*NET Online/Career One-Stop – Occupation Profile: Medical Assistant,, Accessed 7/12/2011.

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