Medical Assistant FAQ

Are you interested in becoming a medical assistant? Many medical assistants have great communication skills and are comfortable working with patients. Typically, medical assistants have great attention to detail and are dependable.

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, read on to learn more about working in this field.

What is the difference between a medical assistant and a nurse?

Medical assistants and nurses have different responsibilities and their jobs require different training.Medical assistants have the following responsibilities:

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Assist physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records

Nurses are responsible for performing the following duties:

  • Assess patient conditions
  • Record patient medical histories and symptoms
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Administer patient medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patient care or contribute information to existing plans
  • Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Can medical assistants give injections?

Medical assistants can give injections, but a supervising physician must be on the premises to aid in case of any complications that may arise from the injection. Medical assistants are not allowed to inject any anesthetic agents.

Can you become a medical assistant without certification?

To become a medical assistant, an individual may attend a secondary, post-secondary or adult education program in a public school, community college or post-secondary institution accredited by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education in the Department of Consumer Affairs. However, it is not required to attend formal training to become a medical assistant.

Medical Assistants can work without certification. Upon graduating from the Medical Assisting Program, you are considered a medical assistant. In order to become a certified medical assistant (CMA), you may take the AAMA certification. There are other credentialing services available as well. In lieu of schooling, you can take the NCCT exam after two years of verifiable work experience to become a medical assistant, or take the exam after completing a program like MTI’s Medical Assisting Program.

Can medical assistants administer medications?

Yes, medical assistants can administer medications to a patient, as long as it is ordered by a physician.

Can a medical assistant be a phlebotomist?

Medical assistants may be able to perform venipuncture, the skill needed to draw blood. The Medical Assisting Program at MTI does include a section in phlebotomy.

Can a medical assistant be a nurse practitioner?

No, medical assistants will need to complete additional education in order to become a nurse practitioner. Most nurse practitioners have their Master’s degrees from accredited programs.

Who hires medical assistants?

The following establishments typically hire medical assistants:

  • Offices of physicians
  • Hospitals (state, local, and private)
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of chiropractors

It is important to note that some hospitals or medical institutions may hire professionals trained as medical assistants under a different job title than “medical assistant”.

Beginning Your Career as a Medical Assistant Starts With The Right Training