Pediatric Medical Assistant Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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A pediatric medical assistant's average annual income is around $31,220, but is it worth the education and training requirements? Get the truth about the job descriptions and career prospects to see if it is the right career for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Pediatric Medical Assistant

A pediatric medical assistant handles clinical and administrative job duties in a pediatric physician's office. You can learn what the best and worst aspects to being a pediatric medical assistant are by reading below.

PROS of Becoming a Pediatric Medical Assistant
Faster than average employment growth*
No formal education requirements in the majority of states*
Opportunity to help improve someone's health*
Some employers offer on-the-job training*

CONS of Becoming a Pediatric Medical Assistant
Income is below the national average (about $31,220)*
Weekend and evening shifts are necessary with employers who are opened 24/7*
Post-secondary education can sometimes be preferred in some cases*
Job duties are expected to change as technology improves*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description

A medical assistant that specializes in pediatrics works predominantly with children and their caretakers. The location and size of your employer's practice might impact some of the job duties you perform. At a larger hospital, you might focus on just clinical duties or administrative duties, while at a smaller establishment you would handle both aspects of the job. The patient's history is normally recorded by the pediatric medical assistant. A pediatric medical assistant also measures the vital signs of a patient. From there, you'll assist a physician with examining the patient. You might issue injections to a patient if the physician directs you to do so. Other job duties for pediatric medical assistants include preparing samples for laboratory tests and scheduling appointments for patients.

Job Outlook

A 29% growth in employment was expected for medical assistants in general from 2012 to 2022 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An aging baby-boom population is expected to create demand in medical services. This faster-than-average employment growth for medical assistants is also attributed to physicians who use assistants to replace some of the work duties normally done by more expensive hires, like nurses.

Salary Info

The BLS reported in May 2014 that medical assistants earned $31,220 or so on average annually. This made the hourly wages for medical assistants about $15.00. Alaska, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Washington, and Connecticut were the top five states that paid medical assistants the highest average yearly incomes. Roughly $42,000 was the yearly salaries for medical assistants in the top ten percentile of wage estimates for the occupation.

Occupational Requirements

Training and Education

While in high school, it is recommended that students who are interested in becoming pediatric medical assistants take classes in anatomy, chemistry and biology. Although a high school diploma or a GED is suitable in most cases for employment, some aspiring pediatric medical assistants choose to go into a post-secondary education program at a community college or technical school. A suitable program might take the form of a two year associate's degree or a one year certificate.

An existing medical assistant or a physician might use on-the-job training as a way to teach a new pediatric medical assistant. This process would include familiarizing the new pediatric medical assistant with daily tasks, patient interaction and medical terminology. You'll also learn about the different codes used to record the information of a patient. The entire training process can last several months depending on how thorough the facility is, along with the size of the employer's office.

What Do Employers Look For in Pediatric Medical Assistants?

Pediatric medical assistants with previous work experience are often preferred by employers, as it shortens the training process. Communication skills are important for many employers as well, since pediatric medical assistants work first hand with patients and parents. Pediatric medical assistants can help develop a good reputation for the employer by being friendly and cordial with clients. In November 2012, several job postings for pediatric medical assistants were summarized into the information below so that you could see what real employers wanted.

  • In Connecticut, a practice preferred pediatric medical assistants that have experience with medical records in an electronic format.
  • A pediatric medical assistant opening in Texas called for someone who is a Certified Medical Assistant with CPR certification.
  • The ideal candidate for a pediatric medical assistant job in California would be an applicant who is willing to cross-train people from other departments.
  • A Utah health center wanted a pediatric medical assistant with a Basic Life Support Health Care Provider card or someone who can acquire one within a month of being hired.

How Can You Stand Out as a Pediatric Medical Assistant?

Pediatric medical assistants that take the time to become certified can stand out from others who haven't taken that additional career step. The requirements for certification vary based on which one you're pursuing. You might have to graduate from an accredited program to receive one certification, while another one might require you to have a minimum amount of work experience under your belt. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies with the Institute for Credentialing Excellence has four types of certification available: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).

Other Vocational Options

If you're interested in helping in something more specific than general health, you can look into becoming a dental assistant. Dental assistants prepare patients for examination by the dentist. The dentist's tools are also prepared and sterilized by the dental assistant. You may also help the dentist by keeping the patient's mouth dry and handing the dentist tools. Dental assistants earned about $35,000 on average annually as of May 2011, according to the BLS. For the 2010-2020 decade, a 31% growth in employment was expected for dental assistants.

If you want to help people recover from physical injuries or disabilities, you could consider becoming a physical therapist assistant. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, you'll observe a patient before, during and after their physical therapy, supervising their progress. You'll demonstrate proper techniques a patient should perform during a session and assist them with performing them. You'll also give patients and their family members various instructions on what to do after the treatment process. An employment growth of 46% during 2010-2020 was projected for physical therapist assistants. Additionally, the BLS found that physical therapist assistants made an average income of roughly $51,000 or so as of May 2011.

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor: Health Science
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)

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Lincoln Tech

  • Medical Assistant Technology
  • Medical Assistant

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The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology

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Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care

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College of Health Care Professions

  • Medical Assistant-Certificate
  • Pharmacy Technician-Certificate
  • Physical Therapy Technician-Certificate

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Penn Foster High School

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Southern Careers Institute

  • Medical Assistant

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Abilene Christian University

  • MBA - Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

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