Becoming an OB/GYN Assistant: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

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Get the truth about an OB/GYN assistant's salary, education requirements and career prospects. Read the job description and see the pros and cons of becoming an OB/GYN assistant.
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The Pros and Cons of an OB/GYN Assistant Career

Medical assistants working in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) clinical settings perform a wide range of tasks, from clerical duties to assisting doctors with surgical procedures. To learn more about the positive and negative aspects of a career as an OB/GYN assistant, just keep reading.

Pros of an OB/GYN Assistant Career
Flexibility in terms of job location*
Robust job growth (29% from 2012 to 2022)*
No extensive education required*
Opportunity to work in small private clinics*
Direct communication with patients*

Cons of an OB/GYN Assistant Career
Relatively low wages (median annual salary around $32,000)**
Potential for high levels of stress*
Working with constantly evolving electronic medical records systems*
Possible exposure to contaminated supplies or medical instruments*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Basic Career Information

Job Responsibilities

OB/GYN assistants are responsible for a range of duties, most of which are either clerical or medical. The medical duties vary according to the employer and practice regulations. However, some tasks may include taking vital signs, preparing laboratory specimens, sterilizing medical instruments and preparing a patient for examination. Clerical duties may include filing, ensuring that all insurance documents are correctly filled out and arranging for testing and hospital or clinic admissions.

Further responsibilities in your career as an OB/GYN assistant may include administering injections, assisting with minor surgical procedures and phoning patients to review lab results. You'll also need to be skilled in relaying information to patients on behalf of a physician, such as basic instructions following procedures. Any medical assistant, and perhaps especially those working in OB/GYN clinical settings, must be sure to maintain confidentiality of all patient information.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects rapid job growth for medical assistants in the coming years. Overall employment was expected to increase by 29% from 2012-2022, with the BLS noting the steady growth of the primary care sector in the healthcare industry as a key factor. Medical assistants working in any concentration should be able to find ample opportunities in an array of healthcare facilities. As for salary, you can expect some variance depending on location and professional setting. As of September 2015, Salary.com reported a median annual salary of about $32,000 for medical assistants in the U.S.

Requirements

While no formal educational requirements for medical assistants exist, some employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a medical assisting program in a community college or technical school. You can usually complete such programs in one year, although some schools also offer 2-year programs that lead to associate's degrees. Medical assisting programs feature both classroom and laboratory portions and include coursework in anatomy and medical terminology.

Certification is an important asset for prospective medical assistants, as nearly all positions require current credentials or eligibility for certification. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers the widely accepted certified medical assistant (CMA) credential. To achieve CMA status, you'll need to complete an accredited medical assisting program and to pass the CMA exam. Beyond specific education and certification requirements, your work as a medical assistant in the OB/GYN field will call for good interpersonal skills, a detail-oriented mindset and sharp technical skills for checking patients' vital signs.

What Are Employers Looking For?

The basic requirements for medical assistant positions in OB/GYN clinical settings are fairly consistent, but specific responsibilities may vary. The following job postings open as of late March 2012 reflect some expectations employers may have.

• A large medical center in Colorado sought a medical assistant to work in its OB/GYN division. The position required prior experience as a medical assistant, but medical assistant certification could be substituted for work experience.

• A private obstetrics and gynecology practice in Texas looked for a CMA to work on its team. This position called for a minimum of two years of experience working as a medical assistant in an OB/GYN setting.

• A large healthcare provider in Wisconsin advertised for a medical assistant for its OB/GYN clinic. An awareness of the psychosocial needs of patients and families was specified as a need for this job, along with certification from the AAMA.

Standing Out in the Field

If you'd like to set yourself apart from other jobseekers in a competitive market, several certifications for medical assistants beyond the familiar CMA credential are available. Certifications focused in medical assisting are available from organizations such as the National Center for Competency Testing and the National Healthcareer Association. Extending your medical assisting education beyond a 1-year program is another way to stand out in the field.

Increasing your familiarity with electronic health records can be another option to further your career in medical assisting. Knowing how to efficiently code and record patient information through electronic interfaces is increasingly important aspect of a medical assistant's work. Training in electronic medical records management may be available through your company or from software vendors.

Alternative Careers

If you find the administrative side of your medical assisting training to be more to your liking, you might want to consider a career as a health information technician. Using various systems to code and classify patient information, this career path can allow you to play a part in streamlining the healthcare system. These professionals have generally completed a certificate or associate's degree program and may be required to hold professional certification. The BLS projected 21% job growth for medical records and health information technicians from 2010-2020, and the median annual salary for this career was about $33,000 as of May 2011.

If you feel better suited to the clinical element of working as an OB/GYN assistant, a career as a nursing aide may be an appropriate option for you. Nurse aides record vital signs and take other patient information as well as helping patients with tasks such as dressing, bathing and getting in and out of wheelchairs and beds. These professionals generally have some postsecondary education, often in the form of a certificate program, and must complete a state-sponsored competency exam. The BLS predicts 20% job growth from 2010-2020 for nurse aides, orderlies and other healthcare attendants. The median annual salary as of May 2011 was about $24,000.

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Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
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Regent University

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Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management

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Abilene Christian University

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  • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

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Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

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South College

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
  • Associate of Science in Health Science

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  • Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
  • B.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
  • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences

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