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Medical Assisting – A Health Care Profession on the Rise

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Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs in this field will grow at a whopping 29 percent over the next decade, compared to the 7 percent growth across all professions. Fortunately, there are some outstanding medical assisting programs in Greater Cincinnati, including the program at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College.

Jennifer Kroger is the director of the medical assisting program at UC Blue Ash. She shared a little background on what a medical assistant does and some of the factors to consider before choosing this as a career.

What is medical assisting?

Picture this: when you go to a medical office, there is a person who takes you back, takes your vitals, measures your weight, height, blood pressure, temperature. They ask you why you’re there to see the doctor and might come in later to run some tests, draw blood, etc. That is the medical assistant.

Behind the scenes, there’s also an administrative aspect of the position. The medical assistant may help with scheduling, handling medical records, managing billing – things that have to do with an ambulatory setting versus an inpatient care setting.

Kroger is often asked how medical assisting differs from nursing. She clarifies that there are many parallels between the two areas of study: same basic medical knowledge, same terminology, many of the same technical skills. Medical assisting is just not quite as rigorous as nursing.

“It’s a great place to start if you’re interested in health care and you’re not quite sure where to go – it’s a super beginning point to get your feet wet. It is either a stepping stone and people find that they really like the medical field once they get in and they want to keep going [to more in depth medical professions], or they absolutely love [medical assisting] and they find a great job and they’re happy!”

Why choose medical assisting?

Kroger explains that medical assisting positions are flexible.  She says that you will typically have a set schedule, with limited late evenings or weekend rotations. “You get to do in-person care and work with patients, it’s just not as intense as a nursing program would be. It’s a broader knowledge base and broader skill base. You can work with a variety of patients. You can choose your setting- if you like working in pediatrics, internal medicine, dermatology, OB-GYN, you can kind of pick your niche that you like.”

Why is this such a high demand profession?

Doctors offices are becoming increasingly busy as people are turning away from inpatient care and relying on ambulatory care. These are the settings for which medical assistants are trained. Kroger notes, “We have over 300 open positions within the various health systems [in the Greater Cincinnati area] so there’s a huge demand for our graduates.”

This being said, graduates of this program have countless job opportunities and offers. Most of our medical assisting students are offered jobs by their clinical or practicum site even before graduation.

Selective Admissions

The UCBA medical assisting program became a selective admission program in 2017. This will be the second year of selective admissions – an application process that ensures that the most qualified applicants receive spots in the program – and Kroger can already see a difference in the student body. “The caliber of students this year is much higher. They are able to handle more and they are very dedicated to the profession. They want to learn and are excited about learning and they want to promote the profession so it’s a different atmosphere.”

I also talked to Elena King and Hannah Neal – first-year medical assisting students who have nothing but good things to say about the program at UC Blue Ash.

Plans after graduation?

Elena plans to work as a medical assistant for a few years post-graduation before pursuing a bachelors degree, “I definitely know this wont be my only degree. I’ve considered coming back [to UC Blue Ash] to get my bachelors in the Applied Administration program. As for right now, when I graduate next year I plan to get a job as a medical assistant and maybe find somewhere that will help with tuition reimbursement.”

Hannah’s dream job is to work at Children’s Hospital,  “After being accepted into the program I can easily say that I know this is what I am supposed to be doing in life.”

Why medical assisting? Why UCBA?

Hannah not only loves the medical assisting program, but she loves UC Blue Ash as a whole. “The small class sizes and campus are just perfect for the type of person and student that I am. Everyone thinks that being at UCBA you don’t get the typical college experience, but you still can. I spent many weekends down in Clifton, meeting people from main campus, going to the football games, etc. I feel very fortunate to be a student at UCBA because I know I’m more than just a number.”

Elena has found that the UC Blue Ash medical assisting reputation is well known in our area, “When I go out and I tell a medical assistant that I go to UC Blue Ash for medical assisting, they say ‘Wow, you’re going to be set! That’s one of the best medical assisting programs. You guys get the AAMA credentials!’ So we’re really lucky [to be in this program].”

Elena, Hannah, and Jennifer Kroger all agree that medical assisting is the perfect place to start for anyone who is interested in working in a health profession- especially if you’re not sure exactly which path you want to take.

Kroger reiterated that the possibilities are endless,  “You can work as a clinical medical assistant, or administrative medical assistant. You can work as a phlebotomist with a little bit of additional training. You can work for insurance companies, for a specialist office, in a clinic setting, or a group health associates type setting. You can work for an individual practitioner. The sky is the limit, once you figure out what you want to do you can tailor it how you like.”

A degree in medical assisting can open countless doors. This program is a fantastic option for those in pursuit of a career dedicated to assisting those in need in a field that will only continue to grow. For more information on the medical assisting program at UC Blue Ash, or about medical assisting as a profession, please visit the Medical Assisting Information Page or contact Jennifer Kroger at nicholji@ucmail.uc.edu

Get more information about Medical Assisting job growth.

 

About Olive Wright

Olive Wright is the Communications Intern with the Communications Department at UC Blue Ash College for the 2017-18 academic year. Look forward to seeing Olive's contributions to UCBANOW and www.ucblueash.edu all year long.