Medical assistants are indispensable to the smooth day-to-day operation of any functioning medical organization. While all medical assistants share a few everyday broad responsibilities, such as helping physicians, nurses, and specialists manage the inflow of patients and ensuring that often-overlooked tasks are up to date, there are also significant differences in what a medical assistant position entails.
Below, we take an in-depth look at some of the most popular fields in medical assistance, along with crucial information about each area, including their job descriptions, work environments, potential salary, and more.
For a more in-depth discussion of this career, including job outlook, education requirements, and certifications needed, please refer to our dedicated medical assistants career guide. Alternatively, you may also consider exploring the certified nursing assistant career overview for additional healthcare industry options.
Administrative Medical Assistant vs. Clinical Medical Assistant
One of the main yardsticks used to differentiate between medical assistance is the broad scope of their jobs. A medical assistant is trained to perform several administrative and clinical duties. But it is also possible to specialize in either one of these.
Below is a quick overview of what each area entails.
Administrative Medical Assistant
An administrative medical assistant is a medical assistant who works predominantly on the administrative side of a healthcare organization’s day-to-day operations. Generally, a medical administrative assistant will be involved in scheduling appointments, ensuring that medical and financial records are accurate and up to date, registering patients, and collecting documents.
Administrative assistants are trained to understand medical administrative paperwork and insurance terminologies thoroughly. They earn an annual average salary of $40,500.
Clinical Medical Assistant
On the other hand, clinical medical assistants only focus on the patient care aspect of the job. Instead of dealing with paperwork and documents, they will take patients’ vital signs, change the dressing on wounds, assist with procedures, draw blood, and remove stitches, among others.
A clinical medical assistant will also be thoroughly trained in patient interaction and empathy.
Clinical medical assistants earn an annual average salary of $32,308. Certification is only sometimes required, but professionals in the field can choose to obtain the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential.
Medical Assistant Specialties
The following are the different specialty areas a medical assistant can consider based on the specific field of medicine.
Before going into that, you can also discover the career overview of medical assistants, which provides insights into the job outlook, education requirements, and certifications, empowering you to chart your path in the medical field with clarity and confidence.
Obstetric Medical Assistant
Obstetric medical assistants work in women’s healthcare. An obstetric medical assistant must be familiar with caring for women regardless of age.
They work closely with obstetricians and gynecologists, performing different tasks such as helping with routine minor treatments and helping care for pregnant women.
The annual average salary for obstetric medical assistants is $35,883, and they are usually certified with the Specialty Certified Medical Assistant in OBG credential.
Podiatric Medical Assistant
A podiatric medical assistant works in podiatrist offices, performing tasks such as making personalized casts for feet, working with X-rays, and assisting podiatrists in surgical settings.
A podiatrist medical assistant can obtain certification from the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants. In this regard, they have three choices: administrative, clinical, and radiology certifications.
Ophthalmologic Medical Assistant
Ophthalmologic medical assistants work in the offices of ophthalmologists, performing duties such as helping patients become familiar with how to insert and remove their lenses, teaching proper lens care, and assisting ophthalmologists in surgery.
The annual average salary for professionals in the field is $41,120.
The International Joint Commission on Allied Health Professionals in Ophthalmology offers a *Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (*COA) credential for ophthalmologic assistants.
Chiropractic Medical Assistant
Chiropractic medical assistants work in chiropractics, where experts use holistic methods to treat different medical conditions. Their most common duties are assisting the chiropractors during treatment sessions and teaching patients prescribed exercises.
Their annual average salary is $32,486, and they usually obtain the Certified Chiropractic Clinical Assistant certification from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Family Medicine Medical Assistant
As the name implies, a family medicine medical assistant works in family care establishments, carrying out duties such as maintaining patient records, giving medications, drawing blood, and helping to fill prescriptions.
Usually, a family medicine medical assistant can secure employment by obtaining a Certified Medical Assistant credential. Still, professionals in the field tend to take it further by getting training in giving injections and phlebotomy.
The annual average salary for professionals in the occupation is $41,662.
Cardiology Medical Assistant
A cardiology medical assistant works in medical establishments to treat heart conditions, including heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and valve replacement treatments.
Usually, a cardiology medical assistant will have to relate with the same patients repeatedly, seeing as cardiology patients tend to require frequent check-ups and changes in medication.
The duties of a cardiology medical assistant include drawing blood from a patient and forwarding it to the lab, performing an EKG, keeping doctors apprised of the patient’s development, assisting with echocardiograms, and scheduling appointments.
The average salary for cardiology medical assistants is $34,348.
Professionals in the field obtain credentials from the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants, the American Heart Association, the National Performance Specialists, and the Specialty Certified Medical Assistants.
Geriatrics Medical Assistant
Geriatric medical assistants work with older people, usually at least 75. Working as a geriatrics medical assistant involves a great deal of patience and empathy.
Among other things, the typical responsibilities of the job include assisting with physical assessment, vital signs measurements, skin inspection, administering vaccinations, and helping patients go through different paperwork.
The annual average salary for senior medical assistants is $41,662.
Certification makes employment easier, and professionals in the field obtain the Certified Medical Assistant credential and the Certified Phlebotomist credential.
Endocrinology medical assistant
Endocrinology is a field of medicine that helps people treat defects and disorders of the endocrine system. Low estrogen and testosterone, diabetes, and hypothyroidism are conditions that endocrinology experts are usually called upon to deal with.
An endocrinology medical assistant works in endocrine clinics, performing responsibilities such as drawing blood, carrying out subcutaneous injections, checking blood sugar, collecting urine samples, and maintaining patient records.
The annual average salary for endocrinology medical assistants is $38,922, and they may choose to obtain certification from the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants and the Specialty Certified Medical Assistants.