In-Demand Medical Assistant Jobs: An Overview

Medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare operations. As the healthcare industry continues expanding, so does the need for talented medical assistants. This article will provide an overview of in-demand medical assistant jobs, main duties, median pay, job outlook, and how to become one.


Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks that keep healthcare settings running smoothly. With an aging population and expanded health insurance coverage, medical assistant jobs are projected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. Those with formal training and certification should have the best job prospects.

Job Duties and Work Settings


Typical duties for medical assistants depend on the location they work in. In smaller practices, they usually do a mix of administrative and clinical work. Larger practices tend to separate these functions.

Administrative duties include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Handling billing and coding
  • Ordering supplies

Clinical tasks involve:

  • Taking patient histories
  • Preparing exam rooms
  • Assisting physicians with exams and procedures
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens

Common Work Environments

Most medical assistants work in:

  • Physicians’ offices
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers

Some work settings focus on a particular field of medicine. For example, ophthalmology assistants work exclusively in eye care clinics.

Key Medical Assistant Jobs and Salaries

Here are some of the most in-demand medical assistant jobs with median annual salaries.

Medical Assistant

  • Median Annual Salary: $35,850
  • Job Growth by 2032: 23%

These professionals perform an array of clinical and administrative duties under a physician’s supervision. Experience requirements vary by state and facility. On-the-job training is common.

Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,940
  • Job Growth by 2032: 17%

Ophthalmic assistants help ophthalmologists provide eye care. Responsibilities include administering eye exams, providing prescriptions, and educating patients on contact lens use and care.

Podiatric Medical Assistant

  • Median Annual Salary: $37,970
  • Job Growth by 2032: 14%

Podiatric assistants work alongside podiatrists to treat conditions affecting the ankle, heel, and foot. Daily tasks involve taking medical histories, assisting with treatments, performing tests, and educating patients.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

Education and Training

Prospective medical assistants have a few training options:

  • 1-year certificate program
  • 2-year associate’s degree

Both programs include laboratory procedures, medical terminology, insurance processing, clinical skills, and an externship. Those with formal education have better prospects than those without.


Medical assistants are not required to become certified, but doing so demonstrates competency. Two options are the Registered Medical Assistant and Certified Medical Assistant exams offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants.


A handful of states require medical assistants to obtain either registration or licensure to work in the field. Requirements vary but often include education, experience, and exam components.

Job Outlook

Medical assistant jobs are projected to grow 23% from 2021-2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by the following key factors:

  • Expanding healthcare industries
  • Physicians needing support to care for more patients
  • Advancing technology demanding assistants adapt their competencies

While medical facilities move toward more automation and artificial intelligence, many administrative and clinical duties still require a human touch. That’s where medical assistants come in with their versatile, irreplaceable skills.


With competitive salaries, strong job prospects, and meaningful work responsibilities, medical assisting offers a rewarding career path. As healthcare needs evolve, so will the critical role played by these frontline allied health professionals. With the right accredited education and certification, medical assistants can build on-the-job skills to advance into supervisory or specialized positions.

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