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Medical Assistant

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1-2 years post-secondary training

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What They Do

Medical Assistants Career Video

About This Career

Performs administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Interviews patients to obtain medical information and measures their vital signs, weight, and height.
  • Cleans and sterilizes instruments and disposes of contaminated supplies.
  • Explains treatment procedures, medications, diets, or physicians' instructions to patients.
  • Records patients' medical history, vital statistics, or information such as test results in medical records.
  • Prepares treatment rooms for patient examinations, keeping the rooms neat and clean.
  • Collects blood, tissue, or other laboratory specimens, logs the specimens, and prepares them for testing.
  • Shows patients to examination rooms and prepares them for the physician.
  • Helps physicians examine and treat patients, handing them instruments or materials or performing such tasks as giving injections or removing sutures.
  • Performs routine laboratory tests and sample analyses.
  • Greets and logs in patients arriving at office or clinic.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Ophthalmic Assistant — Duties might include recording vision, applying eye dressage, testing eye muscles, performing diagnostic and vision tests, administering eye medications, and readying the surgical equipment.
  • Ophthalmological Assistant
  • Outpatient Surgery Assistant
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Chiropractor Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Doctor's Assistant
  • Health Assistant
  • Optometric Assistant
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733