If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a healthcare professional, either a medical assistant or a medical administrative specialist may be the right career path for you.
At Bryan University, we want to help all our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Although any allied health career is an honorable and worthwhile occupation, it’s always a good idea to do thorough research to determine which role is best for you. If you’re trying to decide between these two positions, here are the primary differences and similarities between them.
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What is a medical assistant?
Medical assistants typically work in doctor’s offices, clinics, and other types of healthcare facilities. Their role is a mixture of administrative tasks and therapeutic medical care services. For example, as a medical assistant, you would complete the following tasks:
- Taking patients’ vital signs (pulse, temperature, height/weight, blood pressure, and more)
- Administer injections and medications
- Assist doctors with patient examinations
When a medical assistant helps with injections and medication administration, a doctor always directs and observes these procedures. Additionally, a medical assistant’s duties will vary depending on the medical practice where they work. But the above duties are very typical for this position.
What is a medical administrative specialist?
A medical administrative specialist is an allied health professional that usually works in a clinic setting. This is a client-facing role that also requires individuals to complete a wide range of administrative tasks that ensure the medical office runs smoothly.
For example, some common tasks a medical administrative specialist regularly completes include:
- Compiling and maintaining medical records and charts
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Filing required insurance paperwork
These tasks all require significant attention to detail, accuracy, computer literacy, and good organizational skills. As a medical administrative specialist, you’ll also need basic customer service skills and be comfortable working directly with patients since you’ll be doing that regularly.
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