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Medical Administrative Assistant vs Surgical Technician

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Surgical Technician

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Key Points:

  • Medical Administrative Assistants handle office tasks; Surgical Technicians assist in operating rooms during surgical procedures.
  • Medical Administrative Assistants typically earn less than Surgical Technicians, with the latter often earning higher salaries.
  • Both Medical Administrative Assistants and Surgical Technicians have job opportunities.
  • Medical Administrative Assistants can often train online whereas Surgical Technicians require in-person training and hands-on experience.
  • Medical Administrative Assistant training is generally less expensive and shorter than the training required for Surgical Technicians.

Vocational training can open up a world of career opportunities, and two popular options in the healthcare field are medical administrative assistant and surgical technician. While both professions provide essential support to medical professionals, they have distinct roles and responsibilities. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between a medical administrative assistant and a surgical technician, as well as the education and training required for each career. We will also discuss the job outlook and salary potential for individuals in these roles.

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What is a Medical Administrative Assistant and Surgical Technician?

Medical Administrative Assistant:

A medical administrative assistant plays a crucial role in the smooth operation of a healthcare facility. They are responsible for managing the administrative tasks that keep a medical office running efficiently. Some of the duties of a medical administrative assistant include:

  • Scheduling appointments for patients
  • Managing patient records and medical documents
  • Handling billing and insurance claims
  • Assisting with medical coding and transcription
  • Greeting and directing patients
  • Answering phone calls and responding to inquiries

Medical administrative assistants need to have strong organizational and communication skills, as well as a good understanding of medical terminology and office procedures.

Surgical Technician:

A surgical technician, also known as a surgical technologist, is a vital member of the surgical team. They work alongside surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that surgical procedures are conducted safely and efficiently. Some of the responsibilities of a surgical technician include:

  • Preparing the operating room for surgery
  • Sterilizing and organizing surgical instruments and equipment
  • Assisting surgeons during procedures by passing instruments and supplies
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs during surgery
  • Collecting and sending specimens to the lab for analysis
  • Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room

Surgical technicians need to have excellent attention to detail, manual dexterity, and the ability to work well under pressure. They must also have a good understanding of surgical procedures and be able to anticipate the needs of the surgical team.

Difference between a Medical Administrative Assistant and Surgical Technician

While both medical administrative assistants and surgical technicians work in the healthcare field, their roles and responsibilities differ significantly. Here are some key differences between the two professions:

  • Job duties: Medical administrative assistants focus on the administrative tasks that keep a medical office running smoothly, such as scheduling appointments and managing patient records. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, are involved in the hands-on aspects of surgical procedures, including preparing the operating room and assisting surgeons during surgery.

  • Work environment: Medical administrative assistants primarily work in medical offices, clinics, or hospitals. They spend their days in an office setting, interacting with patients and healthcare professionals. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, work in the operating room. They are part of the surgical team and are responsible for ensuring that the operating room is ready for surgery and assisting during procedures.

  • Level of patient interaction: Medical administrative assistants have regular contact with patients, as they schedule appointments, check patients in, and answer their questions. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, have limited direct contact with patients. Their main focus is on supporting the surgical team and ensuring that the operating room is prepared for surgery.

  • Training and education requirements: While both professions require vocational training, the specific programs and courses differ. Medical administrative assistants typically complete a medical office administration or medical assisting program, which includes courses in medical terminology, office procedures, and billing and coding. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, complete a surgical technology program, which includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, and surgical procedures.

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Surgical Technician: Job Description

Medical Administrative Assistant:

As a medical administrative assistant, your job description may include:

  • Scheduling appointments for patients and managing the office calendar
  • Greeting and directing patients
  • Answering phone calls and responding to inquiries
  • Managing patient records and medical documents
  • Handling billing and insurance claims
  • Assisting with medical coding and transcription

Surgical Technician:

As a surgical technician, your job description may include:

  • Preparing the operating room for surgery
  • Sterilizing and organizing surgical instruments and equipment
  • Assisting surgeons during procedures by passing instruments and supplies
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs during surgery
  • Collecting and sending specimens to the lab for analysis
  • Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room

Medical Administrative Assistant vs Surgical Technician: Education and Training

Medical Administrative Assistant:

To become a medical administrative assistant, you will need to complete a vocational training program in medical office administration or medical assisting. These programs typically last between 9 and 12 months and can be completed at community colleges, vocational schools, or online. Some programs may also offer an internship or practicum component, which provides hands-on experience in a medical office setting.

Surgical Technician:

To become a surgical technician, you will need to complete a surgical technology program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges or vocational schools and can take anywhere from 9 months to 2 years to complete, depending on the level of certification you wish to pursue. Surgical technology programs include both classroom instruction and hands-on training in a clinical setting.

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Medical Administrative Assistant vs Surgical Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

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 8 percent from 2019 to 2029. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for medical secretaries was $36,580 in May 2020.

Surgical Technician:

The BLS projects that employment of surgical technologists will grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for surgical technologists was $49,710 in May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a medical administrative assistant or a surgical technician depends on your interests and career goals. If you enjoy administrative tasks and interacting with patients in a medical office setting, a career as a medical administrative assistant may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you thrive in a fast-paced surgical environment and have a passion for assisting in surgical procedures, becoming a surgical technician may be the right path for you. Both careers offer opportunities for growth and advancement in the healthcare field.

Explore Dreambound's program accessibility across different locations. Immerse yourself in these blogs for a detailed exploration of the two vocations, unraveling specific requirements and gaining insightful perspectives on how to embark on your journey:

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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