medical assistants helping a doctor

Medical Assistant Careers: 7 Terms to Know

Medical assistants earn good wages because they have the skills necessary to perform a wide variety of procedures. Although these professionals are not medical doctors, they have learned the processes of assisting with laboratory work as well as communicating with patients. If you are considering a career as a medical assistant, knowing the terminology is vitally important when it comes time to plan for your education. Below are seven terms that relate directly to this field:

  1. Accreditation
    This term refers to the status of a licensed medical practice or the recognition of a medical school by a licensing board. If a school meets certain criteria, it is granted permission by a state or national license board to educate students who are studying a particular subject. All medical schools must be accredited before any certificate earned by the student is recognized as valid by the state where the individual lives and works.
  2. Certification
    Certification is the validating procedure that authenticates someone's ability to perform certain tasks. In the medical field, all students are given a series of exams and terminology quizzes to evaluate their knowledge of a particular area of medicine. This process is required before licensing can be granted to the individual by the state government.
  3. EMT
    This is an abbreviation for emergency medical technician. It is somewhat synonymous with the term paramedic. An emergency medical technician has been trained specifically to give treatment or emergency first aid in the field. EMTs have been educated in the proper use of medical equipment and the ways to report information directly to an attending physician located elsewhere.
  4. Externship
    Somewhat different than an internship, an externship is the educating of a student in an off-site, licensed clinic or medical facility. The student is directly supervised by medical staff. In an externship experience, the student is actually an employee earning a wage.
  5. Licensure
    This is the procedure established at the state level for the giving of credentials to graduating medical students. No one is allowed to practice medicine or become employed as a medical assistant without acquiring the proper license. The process is overseen by a licensing board that ensures a complete review of the applicant's educational credentials.
  6. Medical Technologist
    An MT performs a variety of duties in a health care-facility setting. He or she has been trained to perform blood work, examine tissue samples, and properly store samples. Most states require a four-year degree program before licensing and recognition as a medical technologist is given.
  7. Registered Medical Assistant
    An RMA has completed a two- to four-year study program that includes an internship. This certification is somewhat different than that of a registered nurse. A registered assistant is assigned certain duties in a particular area of medicine. Some schools offer several different concentrations of study, including surgical assistance, tissue sampling, or physical therapy.

This is just a sampling of terms that are bound to come up while you are investigating a medical assistant career. If you are considering a job in this field, you should perform additional research to learn how these terms specifically relate to your career goals.