If you spend hours browsing travel blogs, daydreaming about the possibility of traveling across the country. Many people want to have a life full of adventure and exploration but cannot leave their jobs to pursue their travel aspirations.
If you also wish to work in healthcare while fulfilling your travel dreams, medical assistance might be the best career for you. As a traveling medical assistant, you can fulfill your wanderlust while maintaining a stable source of income.
Traveling medical assistants often take up short-term contracts in different locations across the country, typically lasting a few months.
At the end of a contract, you can choose to stay in the exact location or seek another agreement elsewhere.
Read on to learn more about how to become a travel medical assistant, what they do and where can medical assistants work, how travel medical assistant agencies operate, and more.
What Is a Travel Medical Assistant?
A travel medical assistant is a healthcare worker who provides temporary support in clinics or hospitals for a few weeks or months at a time. Typically, they sign contracts that last for 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the specific assignment.
Once their contract period ends, travel medical assistants have the flexibility to either sign another contract with the same location. They might also be offered or explore further contract opportunities in different locations.
This allows them to have flexibility and mobility in their career, as they can choose to work in various healthcare settings and locations based on their preferences and interests.
It’s important to note that travel medical assistants are expected to have sufficient experience and competency to start working immediately in a new office or clinic, as they typically do not receive extensive training or orientation before beginning their assignments.
Similar to standard medical assistants, traveling medical assistants have clinical and administrative responsibilities.
Read more on What Is a Medical Assistant?
Clinical Duties of a Travel Medical Assistant
The job duties of a travel medical assistant are generally similar to that of a standard medical assistant.
They are expected to quickly familiarize themselves with facility policies and procedures and be able to start working with minimal training.
- Measuring vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
- Administering injections or medications to patients as directed by the physician.
- Collecting blood and other body fluid samples for testing.
- Assisting with patient examinations, including preparing patients for the examination and supporting the physician.
- Removing stitches from patients who have undergone procedures that require sutures.
- Preparing patients for medical tests, such as imaging studies or laboratory tests.
Travel medical assistants need to be well-versed in these clinical duties and be able to perform them effectively and efficiently.
They may work in different clinics or hospitals with other protocols and procedures during their assignments.
Also read: Medical Assistant Job Duties
Administrative Duties of a Travel Medical Assistant
A medical assistant who travels for work will also have administrative responsibilities as part of their travel assignments. These duties may involve-
- Answering phone call
- Scheduling appointments
- Assisting with billing and insurance matters
- Collecting patient information
- Inputting data into the computer system
- Submitting requests for prescription refills.
Where Do Traveling Medical Assistants Work?
Traveling medical assistants work in various healthcare settings, including clinics specializing in pediatrics, podiatry, dermatology, cardiology, OB-GYN, or family practice.
They are also needed in hospitals and urgent care centers, which may require evening, night, and weekend shifts. Due to the aging population, retirement communities with on-call medical care providers also employ medical assistants.
Chiropractic offices, focused on holistic healthcare, typically involve more administrative than clinical duties for medical assistants.
In all these settings, medical assistants interact with patients throughout the day, with administrative tasks typically performed while seated. Still, the job is fast-paced and requires being on their feet. It is suitable for individuals who prefer an active and busy work environment.
How Do Contracts and Assignments Work for Travelling Medical Assistants?
Traveling medical assistants work on contracts that can be established from anywhere across the country. Your pay as a traveling medical assistant will also vary according to the location you go to or where you sign the contract.
Generally, traveling staff are required on immediate notice. As a traveling medical assistant, you must be flexible to move to the job location on a week or two’s notice.
Traveling medical assistants are usually paid by the hour, in addition to a weekly stipend. Plus, travel contracts generally do not involve relocation help. You will have to bear all the costs related to moving to a new place.
The duration of the contracts for traveling medical assistants can range from 4 weeks up to 6 months. They might also be offered permanent jobs or contract extensions when their contract ends.
Travel Medical Assistant Job Outlook & Salaries
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the national average income for medical assistants is generally $37,190, or around $18 per hour. These figures depend on various factors such as job location, experience, level of education, and certification.
Medical assistants with certifications also earn more, by nearly 10%, than non-certified medical assistants. You can be expected to be paid even more if you also obtain extra certifications such as phlebotomy.
Even though no government data is available for travel medical assistants, some job board sites report that they make nearly 20% more than non-traveling medical assistants.
The job outlook for medical assistants, in general, also looks pretty positive. The BLS also further reported that the job growth for medical assistants was expected to rise by 16% by the year 2031. This makes traveling medical assistant an ideal career to pursue.
Read more on Certified Medical Assistant Salary
How To Become a Travel Medical Assistant?
Traveling medical assistants are usually required to work temporary jobs, hence they are expected to start working without much training or orientation.
Read more on How To Become a Medical Assistant
You can become a travel medical assistant by following these basic steps-
1. Complete your high school diploma or a GED-
Before enrolling in medical assistant training programs, the minimum prerequisite is to complete your high school diploma or a GED.
2. Complete your medical assistant training-
Getting your medical assistant training is the most important step when pursuing your career as a travel medical assistant. Medical assistant programs are necessary as they help you gain the proper knowledge and skills that you would need on a daily basis.
There are three main ways by which you can get your medical assistant training-
- Getting an associate’s degree from a technical university
- Completing a diploma from a community college
- Opting for an online training program
Of all the available options, completing your medical assistant training through online training is highly recommended. This is because it offers several advantages over its alternatives, such as –
- It allows you to complete your training faster, in as little as 6 months
- You have the option of learning at your own pace and time schedule and from the comfort of your own home
- It costs way less than an associate’s degree or a diploma
- It also prepares you for the certification exams
See more on: Is Medical Assistant Degree Required?
3. Obtain your medical assistant certification-
After completing your medical assistant training, you must sit for medical assistant certification exams.
Although not necessary in most states, employers highly prefer candidates who are certified. There are many certifications available for medical assistants, the most common and accepted ones amongst them being the CMA and the CCMA exams.
Read: Medical Assistant Scope of Practice by State
4. Gain a minimum of two years of experience-
This is considered to be the most essential step while pursuing a career as a traveling medical assistant. Since these healthcare workers are always working in new environments, they often do not receive the same training as permanent employees.
Traveling medical assistants are required to jump in directly and take on the entire workload from the very first day. Gaining relevant experience is especially important for this, as someone entirely new to such a role might become overwhelmed with the workload.
Also see: How to get Medical Assistant jobs with no experience
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