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With the nation’s economy still sluggish, many young people findthemselves either unemployed or underemployed at low-level jobswith little or no future. They’re seeking alternative careers thatprovide better income, stability and self-respect.

Many people are gravitating toward a medical assisting career. They are choosing to become a medicalassistant for better working conditions and the prestige the fieldoffers. The professional environment of a doctor’s office or cliniccan represent a major improvement for someone who has beenpreviously working in an entry-level job in the general serviceeconomy.

“For people without a college degree or professional training,career opportunities are often limited,” says Wendy Cullen, vicepresident of employer development at Everest College. “Today,entry-level jobs for high school graduates tend to be concentratedin the areas of food service, retail, hospitality and customerservice. If you’ve been running a cash register or working in acall center, becoming a medical assistant and working in a doctor’soffice can be a big step up in responsibility, job satisfactionand, yes, even income.”

Cullen notes that the daily routine of a medical assistant canbe significantly different from other entry-level jobs a youngworker may have previously had.

“For one, medical assistants work with patients one-to-one,”Cullen says. “They usually take patient histories, measurements,vital signs and may even draw blood for testing. They often have tobe both a technician and have a good bedside manner, helping toquell fears and elicit cooperation from patients. There’s a lot ofpsychology involved in medical assisting you don’t find in othercareers at that level.”

Medical assistants also spend a good deal of time on theirfeet.

“While many medical assistants have ample time to sit down whilewriting up patient charts and other documents, they also spend muchof the day moving about, which many people enjoy,” Cullen says.”Being medical offices, the working areas also tend to be veryclean, neat, organized and comfortable. It’s a professionalenvironment, one the assistants can usually take great pridein.”

Many medical assistants are also able to work just part-time, soas to have time to attend to their children and other familyobligations, Cullen adds.

Although the availability of medical assistant jobs varies city to city, the demand fortrained medical assistants is generally strong, despite thecontinuing economic downturn. Employment opportunities for medicalassistants nationwide is “projected to grow much faster thanaverage, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growingoccupations over the 2008 – 2018 decade,” reports the U.S. Bureauof Labor Statistics (BLS) as published on Dec. 17, 2009. “Jobopportunities (for medical assistants) should be excellent,particularly for those with formal training or experience, andcertification.”

Being part of the rapidly growing health care industry, thelong-term demand for medical assistants also appears to be strong.”Health care will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobsbetween 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely inresponse to rapid growth in the elderly population,” according tothe BLS.

Still, as with most skilled occupations, training and experienceare key to establishing a new medical assisting career or toimprove chances at earning a good medical assistant salary.

“Medical assisting requires at least nine months to a year ofspecialized medical assistant training,” Cullen says. “Fortunately,a high school diploma or its equivalency is generally good enoughto begin medical assistant training. This is another factor thatmakes medical assisting attractive to people who don’t want to – orcan’t – afford to take the time to get an associate or bachelor’sdegree from a community or four-year college.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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