Medical assistance is the best career for people wishing to enter the field of healthcare.

The biggest perk this career offers is that you don’t need a degree to become a medical assistant.

On top of that, medical assistance is the fastest-growing career out there, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a nearly 16% rise in job growth. This makes medical assistance an ideal career.

But What is a Medical Assistant, and What Do They Do?

Medical assistants are healthcare workers who provide support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Their duties usually include clinical and administrative tasks, ranging from scheduling appointments to assisting physicians with bedside procedures.

Also see: 12 Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants usually work in hospitals, outpatient care clinics, or physicians’ offices. Medical assistants are generally required to perform clinical and administrative duties; some medical assistants choose to incline toward either.

They work as either clinical or administrative medical assistants. Other medical assistants might choose other specializations.

Read on to find out more about the types of medical assistant specializations and how to decide which one is the best suited for you.

Administrative vs Clinical Medical Assistant

Clinical medical assistants and administrative medical assistants tend to have different duties generally.

While clinical medical assistants usually stay on their feet throughout the day, administrative medical assistants work behind their desks.

Some medical assistants tend to perform clinical and administrative tasks, while others focus more on only one of those aspects.

Clinical Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $42, 742 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), although not always required
  • Certifying Organization: National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

Certified clinical medical assistants tend to focus more on patient care. Their duties generally include:

  • Recording patients’ vital signs
  • patients sutures
  • Primary wound care, like wound dressing changes
  • Assisting physicians with procedures
  • Giving medications
  • Performing phlebotomy for analysis
  • Sterilizing and cleaning equipment

Clinical medical assistants usually spend most of their days interacting with patients, and since they tend to multitask, they are required to be on their feet for long periods.

Also see: Medical Assistant Certificate Requirements

Administrative Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $40, 556 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants for CMA certifications and American Medical Technologists for RMA certifications

Medical administrative assistants focus more on organizational work and paperwork. Their duties generally entail the following:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Maintaining correct financial and medical records
  • Registering patients at the front desk
  • Assisting patients with prescriptions and refills
  • Collecting and documenting fees and co-pay

As an administrative medical assistant, it is essential to have a strong understanding of medical insurance and terminology, in addition to strong attention to detail and organizational skills.

Taking a medical billing course can be helpful in developing the necessary knowledge and skills for this role.

Some might also choose to become work-from-home medical assistants since handling administrative tasks does not require working from the office. Remote work can offer greater flexibility and work-life balance, but it may also require additional technical skills and a reliable internet connection.

Also see: Is Medical Assistant a Good Career?

Also read: Medical Assistant Job Duties

Types of Medical Assistants

Medical assistants can work in various medical specialties, including pediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, dermatology, cardiology, and more.

Some specialties may require additional training or certifications, such as in cardiology or oncology, while others may not. It’s important to reset’s the requirements for the specialty you’re interested in you’re any necessary qualifications before applying for a job.

Let us look at some of these types of medical assistants in more detail.

1. Family Medicine Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $41, 662 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Certified Phlebotomist
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)

Within family medicine, medical assistants may also perform clinical tasks such as taking patient vital signs, administering medications, and assisting with minor medical procedures.

They may also manage patient records, schedule appointments, and handle billing and insurance issues.

Working in family medicine can provide a broad range of experiences and the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and backgrounds. It can also be a good option for medical assistants who do not want to specialize in a particular area of medicine and want a more general clinical skill set.

Additional training and certifications can give you an edge in the job market. It shows that you are committed to your profession and willing to exceed the minimum requirements.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that not all medical assistant positions require certification in phlebotomy or injections. It ultimately depends on the employer’s needs and the employer’s responsibilities for the job.

2. Cardiology Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $34,952 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), CPR certification, and Certified Electrocardiograph Technician (CET)
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Heart Association (AHA), National Performance Specialists

As a cardiology medical assistant, you will need to be familiar with various diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms (ECG), echocardiograms, and stress tests. You may also assist the physician during procedures such as cardiac catheterization.

In addition to assisting with patient care, you may also be responsible for managing patient records, scheduling appointments, and coordinating with insurance companies.

Strong communication skills are important in this field, as you will need to be able to explain complex medical information to patients and their families.

Having experience or training in cardiology can be beneficial when applying for a job as a cardiology medical assistant, but it is not always a requirement. Employers may offer on-the-job training to help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge for this specialty.

Read more on: Medical Assistant On-the-Job Training

3. Geriatrics Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $34,595 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

Geriatric care usually refers to providing care for older people. Geriatric care can also involve managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, as well as helping patients with mobility and daily living activities.

In addition, medical assistants working in geriatrics may assist with cognitive assessments and evaluations for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to provide compassionate care and build rapport with patients and their families is especially important in geriatric care.

The responsibilities of a geriatric medical assistant usually include inspecting the skin for any abnormalities, giving injections or shots, recording vital signs, and assisting patients with insurance claims.

In addition to providing direct patient care, medical assistants working in geriatric care need to have a good understanding of medical insurance, including coverage and billing procedures.

They may also need to assist patients in completing insurance forms and scheduling appointments with specialists. Medical assistants in this field need to have excellent communication skills and be able to work well with elderly patients and their families.

4. Ophthalmologic Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $44,421per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), International Joint Commission on Allied Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO)

An ophthalmology clinic specializes in treating eye problems and addressing vision loss.

They conduct eye examinations, recommend and prescribe glasses or contact lenses, evaluate patients for cataracts, and screen for glaucoma.

Becoming a certified ophthalmology medical assistant (COA) requires about 40 weeks of additional education, apart from regular medical assistant training, but the profession is among the highest paying for medical assistants.

Ophthalmologic medical assistants work in eye care clinics and have a range of responsibilities.

They assist ophthalmologists with eye exams, check measurements and vital signs, assess vision, and perform diagnostic tests.

Ophthalmologic medical assistants are also responsible for taking patient histories, explaining procedures, and educating patients about eye care. In addition, they may be responsible for cleaning and maintaining equipment, ordering supplies, and keeping records.

Becoming an ophthalmologic medical assistant requires additional certification as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA).

To obtain this certification, you must complete a diploma program from an accredited institution and pass an exam administered by the International Joint Commission on Allied Personnel in Ophthalmology.

It is worth noting that having a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification, in addition to being a COA, can give you an advantage in your job search and make you a more competitive candidate.

Also see: Certified Medical Assistant Salary

5. Obstetrics/Gynecology Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $37,000 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Specialty Certified Medical Assistant in OB/GYN (SCMA-OBG)
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

Working as an obstetrics/gynecology medical assistant involves providing care to women with a focus on reproductive health.

This field also offers the opportunity for medical assistants to assist pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, from early weeks to childbirth.

Many women may feel uneasy or awkward during gynecological appointments. Medical assistants in this field can help create a welcoming and reassuring environment to make them feel more at ease.

The duties of an obstetric medical assistant entail several responsibilities, such as measuring and recording vital signs, obtaining health histories, helping with procedures and exams, and providing educational materials on reproductive and sexual health.

As an OB/GYN medical assistant, you will be responsible for taking accurate measurements of patients’ weight, height, blood pressure, and temperature and recording them for the doctor’s review.

You, along with the doctor, will be in charge of collecting the patient’s health history and relevant information, including any allergies or medical conditions that may affect their pregnancy.

During exams and procedures, you will assist the doctor and ensure the patient is comfortable and at ease. Finally, it will be your responsibility to provide patients with educational materials and advice on reproductive and sexual health.

6. Chiropractic Medical Assistant

  • Salary: $36,200 per year (, 2023)
  • Certification: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA),
  • Certifying Organization: Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

If you are interested in providing holistic healthcare, you may find working in a chiropractic office to be a great fit.

Chiropractic medicine usually involves the use of chiropractic adjustments, massage, and electrical nerve stimulation to help patients alleviate pain and improve their overall health.

Patients often visit chiropractors with complaints of chronic pain and require long-term care. Working in a chiropractic office allows medical assistants to build long-term relationships with their patients and witness their progress toward feeling better.

Chiropractic assistants have a range of responsibilities to ensure the smooth functioning of a chiropractic office.

Their duties include scheduling appointments, preparing equipment for chiropractic adjustments and massages, and handling billing and payment.

Additionally, they are responsible for obtaining and maintaining accurate health history reports to assist the chiropractor in providing the best care possible. The maintenance of a hygienic office environment is also one of the responsibilities of a chiropractic assistant.

Medical assistants in chiropractic offices often have a different set of responsibilities compared to those in traditional healthcare settings. They are usually responsible for performing administrative duties such as managing patient scheduling, appointment reminders, and coordinating with insurance providers and other healthcare professionals.

These duties require excellent organizational skills and strong interpersonal communication skills to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

See: Medical Assistant vs Medical Billing and Coding

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How To Choose a Medical Assistant Specialty

Choosing a medical assistant specialty requires careful consideration of personal preferences, skills, and work-life balance.

Job shadowing or touring various medical facilities can help gain insight into the daily duties and work environment of different specialties. Additionally, talking to current medical assistants or school instructors can provide valuable advice on the various specialties.

When selecting a specialty, it’s important to consider individual likes and dislikes. If you enjoy working with children, you might consider working in a pediatric clinic, while if you dislike working with eyes, you should avoid ophthalmology clinics. For individuals who enjoy working with skin, dermatology may be a suitable specialty.

Other factors to consider include work schedules and commuting distance. Working in a clinic typically involves more traditional office hours, while working in an urgent care center can offer greater flexibility with evenings and weekends.

Overall, careful consideration of individual preferences and lifestyle needs can help decide on which medical assistant specialty to pursue.

Read more on: Where Can Medical Assistants Work?


In conclusion, the world of medical assistants spans various specialties, each vital to different areas of healthcare. From administrative roles to specialized fields like dermatology, OB-GYN, or pediatrics, these professionals play essential roles in supporting healthcare teams.

Whether they’re managing records, assisting during exams, or providing care in specific areas, their diverse skills ensure smooth operations and quality patient experiences across various medical settings. Understanding these different types of medical assistants highlights the wide-ranging contributions they make to the healthcare field as versatile and indispensable team members.

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