Brief Description

A medical assistant has a certificate, diploma or an associate’s degree. Medical assistants are responsible for a variety of administrative and clinical duties as well as aiding doctors and nurses by preparing the patients ahead of time.  Administrative duties may include greeting patients, completing insurance forms, and documenting patient communication.  Clinical duties may include taking a patient’s vital signs, prepping lab specimens, and running basic lab tests such as a urinalysis.  The demand for medical assistants is rising because physicians’ offices can utilize these professionals’ services so that they may see more patients.

Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices and clinics of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors and optometrists running smoothly.

The duties of Medical Assistants vary from office to office, depending on the office location, size, and specialty. In small practices, Medical Assistants are usually “generalists,” handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other healthcare practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area under the supervision of department administration.

Medical Assistants perform many administrative duties. They answer telephones, greet patients, update and file patient medical records, fill out insurance forms, handle correspondence, schedule appointments, arrange for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handle billing and book keeping.

Clinical duties include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination. Medical Assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They instruct patients about medication and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for X-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.


Medical assistants can take a one year program to pursue either a certificate or diploma.  They can also attend a two year program to obtain their associate’s degree.  The certificate or diploma program would provide all of the training most employers would expect from an entry-level position.  The two year associate’s degree is typically the most comprehensive medical assistant training available and usually involves a hands-on internship experience.


The medical assistant program curriculum consists of basic science courses such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, human disease, medical transcription, accounting, record keeping, lab techniques, principles of radiology, pharmaceutical principles, clinical and diagnostic procedures, first aid, medical law and ethics, medical coding, and patient relations.


Medical assistants are the administrative and clinical support system of every medical facility.  Since medical assistants have skills in both administrative and clinical tasks, they are qualified to work in the following environments:

Family Medical Centers

In this setting, medical assistants predominantly assist medical doctors and family nurse practitioners with daily tasks.

Group Practices

They may work for physicians in different medical specialties or their assistance may be directed toward just one medical specialty within the practice.

Multi-Specialty Medical Clinics

This is similar to group practices, but they generally serve several medical specialties.

Public or Private Hospitals

Medical assistants may advance to acute care positions with advanced training and education.

Specialty Medical Clinics

This is where medical assistants work in a clinic that supports only one medical specialty.

Outpatient Care Centers

Working in this setting, medical assistants can assist physicians or surgeons with minor outpatient surgeries, procedures, or visits.


Average salary in Louisiana: $26,700

  • New Orleans: $ 29,610
  • Baton Rouge: $ 26,800
  • Hammond: $ 26,980
  • Lake Charles: $ 26,720
  • Shreveport: $ 22,940
  • Alexandria: $ 28,010

Length of Training

Medical Assistants: 1-2 years in length at a postsecondary vocational school, community college or technical institute

Salary Information

Average Annual Income: $25,490-$26,435
Average Hourly Income: $12.26-$12.71


  • Ayers Institute: Shreveport
  • Cameron College: New Orleans
  • Delta Tech: Lake Charles
  • Delta College Career Training: Baton Rouge
  • Delta College Career Training: Covington
  • Delta College Career Training: Lafayette
  • Gretna Career College: Gretna
  • Unitech Training Academy: Lafayette

Contact Information

American Association of Medical Assistants
20 N. Wacker Dr., Ste. 1575 Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 899-1500