Medical assisting is becoming one of the fastest-growing occupations in the US, and if you want to enter the field of healthcare, this might be the best career for you.
Medical assistants are healthcare workers that provide support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
Their duties entail administrative as well as clinical tasks, ranging from scheduling appointments to assisting physicians with bedside procedures.
There are many types of medical assistants, such as pediatric, ob-gyn, and military medical assistants. Military medical assistants usually have access to unique opportunities not available to civilians.
As a military medical assistant, you could find yourself caring for military families on a base, working near a battlefield, or tending to veterans in need of medical attention. The duties of a military medical assistant usually involve assisting physicians with exams and procedures, scheduling appointments, and managing supplies.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about becoming a military medical assistant, including information on salary, work locations, job responsibilities, and how to pursue this career path.
Also see: Is Medical Assistant a Good Career?
What Do Military Medical Assistants Do?
Military medical assistants work alongside healthcare professionals in the military to provide a variety of clinical and administrative tasks.
Also see: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
Some of the duties of military medical assistants include-
- Taking patient histories
- Recording vital signs
- Drawing blood samples
- Sample collection
- Handling insurance and billing
- Administering medications
- Preparing patients for exams
- Assisting with procedures
- Maintaining patient records
- Scheduling appointments
- Managing medical supplies
In addition to providing medical assistance to active-duty military personnel,
military medical assistants may also provide care to military families on base, veterans, and in some cases, civilian contractors working with the military.
Military medical assistants’ specific tasks and responsibilities may vary depending on their branch of service and job assignment.
Also read: Medical Assistant Job Duties
Where Do Military Medical Assistants Work?
Military medical assistants can work in various settings depending on their branch and assigned duties. They may work in military hospitals or clinics on the base, aboard naval ships, or in field hospitals in combat zones.
Here is more on: Where Can Medical Assistants Work
In each setting, they assist healthcare professionals in providing medical care to service members, their families, and veterans.
Air Force Medical Assistants
Medical assistants in the Air Force work at various Air Force bases and provide medical care to Air Force members and their families.
Additionally, they may be deployed to work in field hospitals or on humanitarian missions.
Army Medical Assistants
Army medical assistants are known as healthcare specialists, not patient administration specialists. In addition to their medical duties, they may also assist with administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and maintaining medical records.
Navy Medical Assistants
In the Navy, medical assistants are also called hospital corpsmen. They work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and onboard Navy ships. Hospital corpsmen provide medical care to sailors, Marines, and their families.
Coast Guard Medical Assistants
Coast Guard health service technicians (HS) are multi-skilled medical professionals who perform a variety of duties. HS technicians are responsible for ensuring that medical supplies and equipment are in good condition and that medical records are up to date. They also participate in search and rescue missions and provide medical support during disasters and other emergencies.
Skills Required to Be a Military Medical Assistant
Besides the usual medical assistant skills, military medical assistants require some additional skills to qualify.
Some must-have skills for military medical assistants include the following-
- Organizational Skills- Medical assistants typically work in a fast-paced environment where they are responsible for a variety of tasks. To succeed in this role, medical assistants must be well-organized and able to multitask efficiently.
- Time-management skills- As mentioned earlier, medical assistants often have to multitask throughout the day. Hence, time-management skills are essential for medical assistants to organize their priorities better.
- Dexterity- Medical assistants often handle medical equipment, instruments, and supplies during patient care. To perform these tasks effectively, medical assistants must have good manual dexterity and be comfortable working with their hands.
- Physical Fitness- To join the army, you will have to pass a physical test. With a few weeks of training, even someone with little exercise experience can pass it.
- Compassion- Medical assistants should also demonstrate empathy and kindness towards patients who may feel unwell or anxious about their visit to the medical facility.
- Work well under stress- Medical assistants working in the military may often face stressful situations, and they should be able to handle themselves well in such situations.
Military Medical Assistant: Salary
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for medical assistant salaries is around $37,190 per year or $17.88 per hour. This can, however, vary depending on location, experience, and specialty.
Military medical assistants typically make between $30,000 and $45,000 per year. Military members without a degree can earn between $25,000 in entry-level positions and up to $100,000 with ten years of experience.
Also read: Certified Medical Assistant Salary
Benefits for Medical Assistants in the Military
Working in the military comes with several benefits, in addition to finding a meaningful career. Enlisted service members are entitled to several benefits, such as free health and dental insurance with no limit on the medical care they receive.
They can also receive housing allowances and free housing on base and are eligible for financial support to cover moving costs.
Joining the military as a medical assistant can be a good way to pay for higher education, as the GI Bill offers programs that can cover most or all of the costs of advanced degrees(See also: Is Medical Assistant Degree Required?).
Also read: Medical Assistant Educational Requirements
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How to Become a Military Medical Assistant
Becoming a military medical assistant is similar to becoming a regular medical assistant.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a medical assistant–
1. Get your high school diploma-
The minimum prerequisite is having a high school diploma or a GED.
2. Complete a training program-
Even though not necessary, it is recommended that you enroll yourself in a medical assistant training program. This will equip you with the knowledge and skills you would need as a medical assistant.
Also read: Medical Assistant Programs Cost
The most recommended method of completing your medical training is to enroll in an online training program, which has many benefits.
See more on: Medical Assistant Program
3. Choose a military branch-
This is where you get to choose if you want to work in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Coast Guard.
4. Enlist in the military-
You are required to enlist in the military to be able to work on the base as a military medical assistant.
5. Complete the required training and education-
Military medical assistants usually complete their training after enlisting and on the job.
6. Start your career!
Once you do all of this, congrats, you are ready to start your career as a military medical assistant!
A military medical assistant stands as a pillar in providing healthcare within the armed forces. Their versatile skills, ranging from administrative duties to direct patient care, are instrumental in maintaining the health and well-being of military personnel.
These dedicated professionals assist in various medical tasks, support healthcare providers, and ensure the smooth operation of military medical facilities. Their commitment and expertise play a pivotal role in safeguarding the health of service members, underscoring their invaluable contribution to military healthcare and the overall readiness of the armed forces.
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