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Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Assistant

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Assistant

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Are you interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry? If so, you may have come across the terms "Medical Administrative Assistant" and "Medical Assistant." While these two professions may sound similar, they have distinct roles and responsibilities. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between a Medical Administrative Assistant and a Medical Assistant, including their job descriptions, education and training requirements, and career outlook.

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What is a Medical Administrative Assistant and Medical Assistant?

Before we delve into the differences between these two professions, let's first understand what a Medical Administrative Assistant and a Medical Assistant do:

Medical Administrative Assistant:

  • A Medical Administrative Assistant, also known as a Medical Secretary or Medical Office Assistant, is responsible for performing various administrative tasks in a healthcare setting.
  • They are often the first point of contact for patients, greeting them and scheduling appointments.
  • They maintain patient records, handle billing and insurance claims, and facilitate communication between healthcare providers and patients.
  • Medical Administrative Assistants may also handle administrative tasks such as filing, data entry, and managing office supplies.

Medical Assistant:

  • A Medical Assistant is a healthcare professional who performs both administrative and clinical tasks.
  • They work closely with physicians and other healthcare providers to ensure the smooth operation of a medical office or clinic.
  • Clinical responsibilities may include taking patient vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting with minor medical procedures.
  • Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling billing and insurance claims.
  • Medical Assistants often work in outpatient settings such as clinics, physician offices, and urgent care centers.

Difference between a Medical Administrative Assistant and Medical Assistant

Now that we have a basic understanding of the roles of a Medical Administrative Assistant and a Medical Assistant, let's explore the key differences between these two professions:

Scope of Practice:

  • Medical Administrative Assistants primarily focus on administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling insurance claims.
  • Medical Assistants have a broader scope of practice, as they are responsible for both administrative tasks and clinical duties such as taking patient vital signs and assisting with medical procedures.

Direct Patient Care:

  • While both Medical Administrative Assistants and Medical Assistants interact with patients, Medical Assistants have more direct patient care responsibilities.
  • Medical Assistants may assist with patient examinations, collect specimens, and provide patient education.
  • Medical Administrative Assistants, on the other hand, primarily interact with patients during the check-in and check-out process, but do not provide direct medical care.

Supervision:

  • Medical Administrative Assistants typically work under the supervision of healthcare professionals such as physicians or office managers.
  • Medical Assistants may also work under supervision, but they may have more autonomy in performing certain clinical tasks, depending on state regulations.

Specializations:

  • Medical Administrative Assistants may choose to specialize in a specific area of healthcare administration, such as medical billing and coding or medical transcription.
  • Medical Assistants may also specialize in certain areas, such as phlebotomy or EKG administration.

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Assistant: Job Description

Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between a Medical Administrative Assistant and a Medical Assistant, let's explore their job descriptions in more detail:

Medical Administrative Assistant:

  • Greeting patients and scheduling appointments
  • Managing patient records, including updating information and ensuring accuracy
  • Handling billing and insurance claims, including verifying coverage and submitting claims
  • Facilitating communication between patients, healthcare providers, and insurance companies
  • Performing general administrative tasks such as filing, data entry, and managing office supplies

Medical Assistant:

  • Assisting healthcare providers with patient examinations, including taking vital signs and preparing patients for procedures
  • Collecting and preparing specimens for laboratory testing
  • Administering medications and injections under the supervision of a healthcare provider
  • Assisting with minor medical procedures, such as suturing or removing sutures
  • Performing administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling billing and insurance claims

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Assistant: Education and Training

The education and training requirements for Medical Administrative Assistants and Medical Assistants differ slightly:

Medical Administrative Assistant:

  • Many Medical Administrative Assistant positions require a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Some employers may prefer candidates with post-secondary training in medical office administration or a related field.
  • Training programs for Medical Administrative Assistants typically include coursework in medical terminology, medical billing and coding, office procedures, and computer skills.

Medical Assistant:

  • Medical Assistants typically complete a post-secondary training program, which may result in a certificate or diploma.
  • These programs can be completed in as little as nine months to a year.
  • Coursework for Medical Assistants covers both administrative and clinical topics, such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical office procedures, and clinical skills.
  • Some states may also require Medical Assistants to be certified, which involves passing an exam administered by a recognized certifying organization.

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Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Assistant: Career Outlook and Salary

When considering a career as a Medical Administrative Assistant or a Medical Assistant, it is important to also consider the career outlook and salary potential:

Medical Administrative Assistant:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of Medical Secretaries, which includes Medical Administrative Assistants, is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for Medical Secretaries was $37,090 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Medical Assistant:

  • The employment of Medical Assistants is also projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, also much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
  • The median annual wage for Medical Assistants was $35,850 in May 2020, according to the BLS.

Final Thoughts

Both Medical Administrative Assistants and Medical Assistants play vital roles in the healthcare industry. While Medical Administrative Assistants focus primarily on administrative tasks, Medical Assistants have a broader scope of practice that includes both administrative and clinical responsibilities. When considering a career in either of these professions, it is important to weigh the differences in job responsibilities, education and training requirements, and career outlook. Ultimately, the choice between becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant or a Medical Assistant will depend on your interests, skills, and career goals.

Dreambound has strategically placed its educational programs in various locations, making it easy for aspiring individuals to access valuable opportunities. For a thorough insight into the dynamic realms of these two vocations, we encourage you to delve into more detailed information by visiting:

Joanna Paragas
Written by
Joanna Paragas

Joanna Paragas is part of the Growth team at Dreambound. Her primary role involves creating various automation to streamline workflows and make tasks more efficient for the entire team. Beyond her professional endeavors, Joanna enjoys spending her free time playing with her dogs and enhancing her knowledge by enrolling in online courses.

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