Medical Assistant FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What a Medical Assistant Does
What type of work does a Medical Assistant do?
Medical Assistants perform a variety of duties including (but not limited to) taking and recording personal information and health history information from patients, measuring vital signs, assisting physicians with examinations, giving injections (as directed by a physician), scheduling patient appointments and performing other various administrative duties around a medical office environment, and preparing blood samples for laboratory tests.
Where do Medical Assistants work?
Medical Assistants traditionally work in Physician’s Offices and Clinics, but some may also work in other healthcare facilitates.
Will I be able to find a job?
It’s important to note that no school can guarantee employment. Here at Dorsey Schools, we offer career services assistance to all eligible graduates of the Medical Assistant program. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page. It is worth noting though that according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average for all occupations.a In addition, according to the State of Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 10.8% from 2014 to 2024.b
How much can I expect to make as a Medical Assistant?
Here are some helpful websites that will allow you to view information on Wages & Employment trends:
- Michigan Occupational Wage Information (The SOC for Medical Assistants is 31-9092)
- O*NET Online (Scroll down to Wages & Employment Trends to view helpful info on National/State trends)
Are there other jobs I may be able to obtain as a Medical Assistant?
Medical Assistants may work under other occupational titles such as Chiropractor Assistant, Clinical Assistant, Doctor’s Assistant, Medical Office Assistant, Optometric Assistant, and Ophthalmic Assistant. When looking at any position, it’s important to evaluate the duties of the position along with the required skills and knowledge to determine if a candidate may meet the requirements set forth by the employer.
How is a Medical Assistant different from other healthcare professionals?
Medical Assistants typically work on the front lines in Doctors’ Offices and Clinics assisting patients and physicians. The Medical Assistant is typically the person who calls patients back for their appointment, takes their vital signs and history prior to the doctor seeing the patient. They can also often assist with procedures (such as injections) and perform administrative tasks in a medical/healthcare office.
Are there other career opportunities for Medical Assistants?
Some may choose to use a career as a Medical Assistant as an entryway into the healthcare field. It would not be uncommon for a Medical Assistant to work in the field to gain experience and later go back to school to further their education and/or strengthen their credentials.
Becoming a Medical Assistant
How might I determine if this is a good career choice for me?
In choosing any career, it’s important that someone look at a variety of factors, some of which include:
- Can I see myself doing the work that this position/occupation performs and am I going to be happy performing those tasks in that type of work setting?
- Do I have the skills/traits/characteristics that one may need to be successful in a position like this?
- How is the employment outlook/trends for this position?
I have no medical background/experience in healthcare – can I really do this?
You can! Many Medical Assistants have little to no Medical/Healthcare experience prior to beginning their training. That’s why it’s very important for someone interested in becoming a Medical Assistant to evaluate their school and training options closely.
What type of training is needed?
Medical Assistants typically attend a post-secondary school or institution to obtain training. Many of these programs lead to a certificate or a diploma and typically take one year to complete. While there are no formal educational requirements to become a medical assistant, some states may have specific requirements in place. It’s also important to note that since Medical Assistants work very closely with patients in the actual occupational setting, it can be advantageous to a student to choose a program that has a strong hands-on component so they can “learn by doing.”
How long do I have to go to school?
Many Medical Assistant programs can be completed in a year or less. In choosing a program, it’s important for someone to evaluate the training that is included so they can ensure they are receiving the training they need (and want) prior to entering the healthcare field as a Medical Assistant.
What are important characteristics for Medical Assistants to have?
While this isn’t a full list of important characteristics, medical assistants should have good communication skills, technical skills, analytical skills, and be detail-oriented. If you’re lacking in one or more of these areas, it doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be a good medical assistant, and it may be an area you wish to focus on as part of your training.
Is Certification/Licensure required to obtain employment as a Medical Assistant?
It’s always important to check if the State in which you want to work has specific requirements for Medical Assistants to obtain employment. It is not required that Medical Assistants be certified/licensed in order to obtain employment in the State of Michigan, however, some employers may set this requirement for candidates they wish to hire. Furthermore, there are benefits to becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, and certification may strengthen a candidate’s prospects during their search for employment. In order to assist our graduates, Dorsey Schools will pay the cost one time for graduates of this program to challenge a certification exam as selected by Dorsey Schools, contingent upon the graduate meeting Dorsey Schools exam preparation requirements.
The Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant Program
What will be covered in the program?
The Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program offers instruction in both a traditional classroom setting as well as a hands-on environment by way of the labs at Dorsey Schools in addition to an externship that will take place during the final module of training. Students enrolled in the Medical Assistant program will be exposed to a variety of topics including (but not limited to):
- Taking and recording a health history, vital signs, and physical measurements
- Infection Control
- Pharmacology Basics
- Administering Medications and Injections
- Specimen Collection and handling for laboratory tests
- First Aid
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Medical Office Procedures
- Electronic Health Records
- And more…!
Is your program hands-on?
Yes! Students will have opportunities to practice the skills they are learning in both the labs on campus at Dorsey Schools as well as during their externship.
What’s the externship and why is that important?
The externship will take place during the last module of training and will provide students with an opportunity to apply skills they have learned throughout their training in an actual occupational setting such as a Doctor’s Office, Long-Term Care Facility, Acute Care Setting, or another Medical Facility.
How long is the program?
The Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program is designed to be completed in one year.
Who are the instructors?
Our instructors are caring individuals that possess experience and expertise in their respective field. Our instructors meet the criteria set forth by the State of Michigan as well as the criteria set forth by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (Dorsey Schools’ institutional accrediting body).
Why should I choose Dorsey over another school?
Students choose Dorsey Schools over other Career Training Schools for a variety of reasons. You can learn more by visiting The Dorsey Difference page.
Which Dorsey campuses offer the Medical Assistant program?
The Medical Assistant program is offered at the following Dorsey Schools campus locations: Dearborn, MI; Madison Heights, MI; Roseville, MI; Saginaw, MI; Southgate, MI; Waterford-Pontiac, MI; and Wayne-Westland, MI.
How do I enroll?
If you’re interested in enrolling in the Medical Assistant program at Dorsey Schools, the first step you should take is meeting with one of our Admissions Representatives. You can read more about our Admissions process on our Admissions information page.
Does your program include certification?
While actual certification is not included in the curriculum of the Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program, graduates may go on to challenge a national certification exam. For those who wish to challenge a national certification exam, Dorsey Schools will pay the cost one time for graduates of this program to challenge a certification exam as selected by Dorsey Schools, contingent upon the graduate meeting Dorsey Schools exam preparation requirements.
Will your program prepare me for certification?
The Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program is designed to prepare students to go on to challenge a national certification exam, should they wish to do to.
Is your school/program accredited?
Yes! Dorsey Schools is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
What is the tuition for the program?
The current tuition for the Dorsey Schools Medical Assistant program can be accessed by clicking here.
What is included in my tuition?
In addition to program instruction, tuition includes books, a set of scrubs, a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, and a tablet. In addition, Dorsey Schools will pay the cost one time for graduates of this program to challenge a certification exam as selected by Dorsey Schools, contingent upon the graduate meeting Dorsey Schools exam preparation requirements.
Is Financial Aid available?
Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. For additional information on Financial Aid and Tuition Assistance, we would encourage you to visit our Financial Aid Information page.
Can you help me find a job after graduation?
Dorsey Schools offers Career Services assistance to all eligible graduates, however, job placement is not guaranteed. You can learn more about the assistance our Career Services team offers by visiting our Career Services for Students and Graduates page.
For your reference, we’ve included the links below of several very helpful websites where you can learn more about Medical Assistants, info pertaining to Jobs as a Medical Assistant, the work Medical Assistants do, etc.:
aBureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm (visited July 11, 2016).
bMichigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Long-Term Occupational Employment Projections (2014-2024) Michigan Statewide, Medical Assistants (SOC Code: 31-9092), http://milmi.mt.gov/Portals/137/publications/projectionsdata/LongTerm_OccupationalProj_2024_MI.xlsx (visited July 11, 2016).
Michigan Occupational Wage Information: http://milmi.org/?PAGEID=67&SUBID=124
O*Net Online: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/31-9092.00
Dorsey Schools Gainful Employment Disclosures for the Medical Assistant program: For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please click here.