Medical Assistants – Many Jobs, Short Training

by Ainoura Oussenbec

November 1, 2018

Medical assistants perform 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 a physician.

Medical assistants should not to be confused with physician assistants, who do many services typically performed by a physician and require a Master’s degree.

Short Training Time

The typical entry level education for medical assistants is postsecondary training, non-degree. Locally, Rogue Community College offers a one-year training in three related fields: medical assistant/secretary; medical insurance coding specialist/coder; and medical/clinical assistants. In addition, a private Abdill college in Medford offers a faster, more intensive training for medical assistants. In a short time, job seekers who aspire to enter the fast-growing health care field can have numerous job opportunities in the Rogue Valley and beyond.

Many Jobs Today, Many More in the Future

There are currently 983 medical assistants working in the Rogue Valley. This number is expected to increase by a whopping 29.5 percent to 1,273 jobs, according to employment projections for 2017 to 2027. This growth rate for new medical assistant jobs is the second fastest in Oregon, and much higher than the rate of growth for all occupations combined. In addition, there will be about 1,200 replacement jobs available during this period due to retirements, workers moving out of the area or changing careers.

Good Earning Potential

The Rogue Valley wages for medical assistants start at about $13.50 per hour and can go up to $23 per hour, depending on experience and scope of work. With an average wage of $17.77 per hour or $36,976 annually, the occupation offers a respectable earning potential, especially considering the limited investment in education and training.

For those job seekers considering relocation, the Portland Tri-County area offers the highest average wages for medical assistants in Oregon, at $19.24 per hour or $40,003 annually.

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