Medical Office Assistant Job Description

medical office assistant job description includes administrative and clinical duties to assist doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers

medical office assistant job description includes administrative and clinical duties to assist doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers.

The Medical Office Assistant usually performs administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Their job Description is part administrative and part clinical duties.  They maintain records, book appointments, and provide administrative support for doctors, chiropractors, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners. 

They also perform clinical tasks such as taking and recording temperatures, heart rate, blood pressure, and other basic vital signs. They assist the patient in preparing for exams.  They may clean and sanitize exam rooms.  They take and record height and weight of the patient. 

In some offices the medical office assistant job description may include giving vaccines and performing minor medical tasks such as removing sutures or prepping the patient for minor procedures.  The duties will vary depending on the size of the practice, the specialty, and where they work.  

Working Environment

Working conditions and hours are usually pretty routine.  Most medical office assistants work a Monday thru Friday schedule approximately 8 hours per day.  If they work in an urgent care center they may work some week-ends and early evening shift hours. The physical environment is usually indoors and in a comfortable setting.  Hazards of the job include exposure to disease causing pathogens, latex, cleaning chemicals, and other biological contaminants.   

Education and Training

Most medical office assistants take a one year certificate program from a community college or technical school.  A few colleges offer an associate degree in medical assisting.   The primary curriculum will include classes on medical terminology, basic anatomy, clinical skills labs, administrative skills, and documentation.   It is highly recommended that individuals interested in becoming medical office assistants take biology, chemistry, and anatomy in high school.

Some medical offices or clinics will provide on the job training for medical office assistants. The training will include medical terminology, instrument identification, medical coding, electronic and paper documentation, and other tasks.  

Licensing and Credentialing

 Most states do not require a license or state certification for medical assistants.  A few states may require graduation from an accredited medical assistant program or pass a competency exam to perform advanced tasks such as giving injections.   Many employers look for certification as a way to identify high quality candidates. 

There are four different organizations that provide five different certifications for medical office assistants. They are the American Association of Medical Assistants (Certified Medical Assistant), American Medical Technologists (Registered Medical Assistant), National Center for Competency Testing (National Certified Medical Assistant), and the National Healthcareer Association which grants either a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant or a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant credential. 

Important Points

Positions for Medical Office Assistants are expected to grow by almost 30% between 2012 and 2022.  This is a change from approximately 561,000 to over 723,000 positions.

Certification from one of the credentialing agencies is likely to result in better wages and employment options.

Medical assistants are expected to remain in high demand due to economics and the need for supportive staff in primary care.

Career Progression

The opportunity for growth and promotion in this career is limited. Some opportunity to become a lead medical assistant exists in larger practices.  Medical assistants who desire career growth and promotion usually seek out additional education in healthcare administration or an advanced degree in nursing or similar clinical occupation.

 Resources for Medical Assistant Job Description

Medical Assistant Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

American Association of Medical Assistants


› Medical Office Assistant