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More Than General Practice - 5 Unique Career Possibilities for Medical Assistants

When most of us think of the medical field we think of two places – the hospital and the family doctor’s office. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in the health care industry, you’ll soon find out there’s so much more. Medical assistants have the unique opportunity to work in a wide variety of settings and perform everything from front office duties such as screening patients, billing insurance, and scheduling appointments to exciting back office duties like assisting in certain procedures, taking vitals, and cleaning medical equipment. Take a look at these five off-the-beaten-path settings to get an idea of what is possible with a career as a medical assistant.  

Hyperbaric Centers - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber.1 The practice is well-recognized as an emergency treatment for decompression sickness, or the Bens, a hazard of scuba diving. HBOT is also helpful as a treatment for wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.1 Areas near water often have hyperbaric clinics such as the American Hyperbaric Center with locations in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK. Hyperbaric centers often hire medical assistants to assist in front and back office responsibilities. 

Vein Clinics – Did you know that more than 80 million Americans suffer from vein disease?2 Varicose veins – those bulging, twisted veins you’ve probably seen below a family member’s shorts at some point in your life – are produced when small valves in veins break and cause blood in them to flow in the wrong direction.2 Most of the time, varicose veins are simply a cosmetic issue. However, sometimes the condition can progress to include other symptoms such as pain, swelling, and fatigue. At vein clinics around the country medical assistants help physicians clean clogged veins using techniques such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser treatment.

Natural Birthing Centers – With an emphasis on minimizing unnecessary interventions and keeping costs low, more and more women are choosing to give birth at natural birthing centers. The number of natural birthing centers in the United States grew by 27% from 2010 to 2013 and, as centers report charges up to 50% less than that of normal, uncomplicated hospital births,3 this trend is expected to continue. Medical assistants can find rewarding employment at natural birthing centers in either front or back office settings.  

Gastroenterology – What’s that you say? Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the stomach and intestine. Also known as GI doctors, gastroenterologists, treat a number of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and colorectal cancers.4 To help make diagnoses for treatments physicians use scopes to get a better look into the 25-foot tube called the digestive tract. Medical assistants working for a gastroenterologist may get the opportunity to assist in some of these scoping procedures and are often responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the medical equipment used in these procedures.

Urgent Care – Somewhere between the doctor’s office and the emergency room is the Urgent Care facility. Facilities are usually open “after hours,” which includes evenings and weekends, but most facilities don’t have the round-the-clock hours of an emergency room. Urgent care facilities are designed to bridge the patient care gap between the availability of the primary care physician and the on-call availability of the ER. Medical assistants employed in an urgent care facility will likely see minor traumas and everyday illnesses, as well as occasional long-term conditions. Medical assistants in the urgent care setting may find themselves in the front and back office.

Want to learn more about how you can become a medical assistant? Charter College offers a 10-month Medical Assistant Certificate Program at all of its 11 campuses and online. Classes start every six weeks. Find out more by talking with a representative today!