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Medical assistant

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A medical assistant (sometimes called an MA) is a medical professional who works in medical settings along with doctors and nurses. They do things to help doctors and nurses with their jobs, and may perform many different tasks.[1]

Some medical assistants are similar in some ways to a nurse. They take care of patients in hospitals and other medical facilities, and they perform other tasks to help run the office. They are different from a nurse mainly in that medical assistants cannot plan out what a patient's care will be like. They can only do what a nurse or a doctor instruct them to do.

Other types of medical assistants work in the reception area of a doctor's office, similar to a secretary. These medical assistants may file paperwork, update medical records, and greet patients.[2]


Medical assistants usually go to school for between one and two years. They may hold an associate's degree,[3] or in some cases a certificate if they already have an associate's degree in something else.[4]

Pay range

Medical assistants tend to earn between $20,000 and $40,000 a year in salary.[5] Factors that influence a medical assistant's salary can be their location, the amount of training they have, the amount of time they've been working as a medical assistant, and the skills they've learned while working.