Medical Assisting Skills: What You Need to be Confident in Your Career

Launching a brand new career can be scary. There are so many questions: What if I mess up? How can I best prepare myself? Do I really know everything I need to know about this job?

It’s natural to have these types of concerns, but that doesn’t make the process any easier.

FACT: Medical assisting jobs are expected to increase 29% through 2022.

One way to ease some of the questions in your mind is to learn everything you can about your future career up front. Not to pile on the pressure too much, but as a medical assistant (MA) there are a lot of things you’ll need to know. And forget learning just the basics – if you want to stand out in this growing field, you’ll have to go above and beyond in mastering medical assisting skills.

For MAs, it’s all about job-specific tasks and great people skills. We used government information and real-time job analysis data to identify the medical assisting skills in highest demand.

Medical assisting skills you need to succeed

First, what do medical assistants do, anyway? You probably know they work in a medical facility with patients, doctors and nurses all vying for their time. This is true, of course, but it’s only a vague overview of what a MA truly does.

Depending upon the facility in which they work, MA responsibilities could include:

  • Administering injections
  • Drawing blood
  • Ordering supplies & equipment needed to keep the facility running smoothly
  • Preparing the exam room for the physician
  • Scheduling appointments for patients
  • Taking vital signs
  • Recording patient medical history

If being an MA is your ideal career, you can expect to perform these tasks on a regular basis. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. With a combination of behind-the-scenes and front office duties to juggle, MAs must employ a wide range of skillsets. But some are more sought after than others.

We used real-time job analysis software from to examine more than 75,000 medical assistant job postings from the past year.* The data helped us identify which medical assisting skills are in highest demand from employers. Here’s what we found:

Medical assisting skills chart

Take a look at the chart above. If you notice a theme in these duties, you’re right: people-focused tasks. If you enjoy interacting with others and consider yourself a great communicator, you already have a strong foundation on which to build your medical assisting career.

Focus on customer service

While you probably don’t have experience in drawing blood or injecting vaccines, you may have some form of customer service experience. Whether you’ve worked in retail, volunteered at a nursing home or sold magazine subscriptions for a fundraiser, the interpersonal skills you’ve acquired along the way can be leverage in an MA career.

As an MA, your interactions with patients will play a big role in their overall experience, which is why it’s important to be confident in your duties and comfortable working with individuals from all walks of life. Patients usually interact with MAs first, so their first impression of a facility – whether good or bad – starts with you!

Now you know …

An MA performs a variety of tasks and plays an essential role in healthcare – especially for the patients with which they work. And while they do have to acquire several skills and abilities, the work up front will be worth it in the end. Especially considering the 29 percent projected job growth for medical assisting careers in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Luckily, you’re not expected to learn all of this stuff on your own. That’s where an education comes in. Coursework and internships put you on the right path. With classes that focus on medical records and functions of the human body, you’ll soon master these medical assisting skills for your future career.

Think you have what it takes for a career as a medical assistant? Check out our Medical Assistant degree page to learn more about taking the first step towards your dream job!

*Source: (analysis of medical assisting job postings, June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015).

Author's Note: This article was originally published on December 19, 2013. It has since been updated to reflect information relevant to 2015.

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Kristina is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes her content helps enlighten and engage students through all stages of their education journeys.

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