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The occupation should not be confused with physician assistants, who are licensed professionals trained to practice medicine and perform surgical procedures in collaboration with a physician. Duties vary according to laws of the jurisdiction and may include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting during diagnostic examinations.
Certification for medical assistants is voluntary and optional, though encouraged by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and a number of other certification bodies.They complete a three and half year diploma in medical assistant (DMA) undergraduate program recognized by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.They work independently or with limited supervision of a physician to provide healthcare services to largely underserved populations.For example, Drake College of Business, Elizabeth, NJ, charges ,000, but 31% of graduates defaulted on loans.A few public community colleges have successful programs where graduates make more than ,000 a year. S., an institution's medical assisting program may be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) if its graduates plan to become certified or registered.Medical assistants now find employment in both private and public hospitals, inpatient and outpatient facilities, as well as assisted living facilities, administrative and clinical settings, or general practice and specialty doctor’s offices. The New America Foundation has criticized medical assistant programs, particularly those run by profit-making schools like Kaplan and Everest Institute.Many graduates of the school cannot find full-time work, or cannot find work at all, cannot make enough to pay their loans, and go into default.Medical assistant job responsibilities vary depending on the nature and size of the health care facility where the individual works, but typically involve multiple administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, handling private medical documents, and assisting patients with the admissions process.In Malaysia, medical assistants are known as Assistant Medical Officers (AMO).A CMA (AAMA) must re-certify every 60 months by continuing education in order to maintain certification.Other credential options include becoming a registered medical assistant (RMA). The American Medical Technologists (AMT) agency is responsible for certifying MAs who choose this course.