Moraine Valley Community College || Health Sciences || Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant—Career Opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through the year 2020 as the health care industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population. Increasing utilization of medical assistants in the rapidly growing health care industry will further stimulate job growth. In fact, the medical assistant career is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations.

Medical assistants held about 527,600 jobs in 2010. About 6 out of 10 worked in offices of physicians; about 14 percent worked in public and private hospitals, including inpatient and outpatient facilities; and 11 percent worked in offices of other health practitioners, such as chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists. The rest worked mostly in outpatient care centers, public and private educational services, other ambulatory health care services, State and local government agencies, employment services, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and nursing care facilities.

Employment growth will be driven by the increase in the number of group practices, clinics, and other health care facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly the flexible medical assistant who can handle both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work primarily in outpatient settings, a rapidly growing sector of the health care industry.

Employers prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants who have passed a national examination, indicating that the medical assistant meets certain standards of competence. The American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant credential and the American Medical Technologists awards the Registered Medical Assistant credential.

Medical assistants may be able to advance to office manager. They may qualify for a variety of administrative support occupations or may teach medical assisting. With additional education, some enter other health occupations, such as nursing and medical technology.

The earnings of medical assistants vary depending on experience, skill level, and geographic area. In 2010 the national annual salary for medical assistants ranged from $20,810 to $40,190. In 2010, the mean annual salary for medical assistants in Illinois was $31,440.

Consistent with trends reported nationally, employment opportunities for medical assistants are expected to increase in and near Moraine Valley's district. For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in Building S, Room S202 at (708) 974-5737 or visit http://www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos164.htm (visited August 1, 2012).