Skills commonly required to be a medical office assistant include the ability to perform basic administrative tasks, take patient vital signs and enter patient information. Post-secondary programs cover these skills at vocational schools, community colleges and technical schools.
Medical office assistants should possess knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology and know how to give injections. Assistants might also be required to prepare blood for testing. Examples of common specializations for medical office assistants include ophthalmic medical assistant, clinical medical assistant, administrative medical assistant and podiatric medical assistant.
After completing a medical office assistant program, a student can receive a certificate, diploma or an associate's degree. Depending on the state, medical assistants might be required to complete an accredited program and/or pass an exam before being permitted to take x-rays, give injections or other advanced tasks. Assistants who don't have a formal education can receive on-the-job training from more experienced assistants or a physician. Depending on the employer, an assistant who has completed a formal program may be more desirable than one who only has a high school diploma.
Personal qualities medical office assistants should possess include analytical skills, interpersonal skills and technical skills. Assistants should also pay close attention to detail in order to note the correct vital signs and patient information. Doing so is vital to insurance companies and physicians.