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Career Development Tips

Top Medical Assistant Skills for Professional Success

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Clinical and administrative skills for medical assistantsClinical Skills for medical assistantsAdministrative skills for medical assistantsPersonal qualities every medical assistant should have

Guide Overview

Overview of medical assistant skills

If you want to join the medical industry without going through the rigors of medical school, consider becoming a medical assistant. However, mere interest in the career will not earn you the job. You need to have the required medical assistant skills to be attractive to employers and succeed on the job. Highlighting these skills on your resume and demonstrating them in the interview can also help you stand out among a myriad of applicants. 

Here, we outline several top medical assistant skills to show you are an ideal fit for the job.

Clinical and administrative skills for medical assistants

A medical assistant performs both clinical and administrative functions. To become a successful medical assistant, you must have administrative and clinical skills. Below, we will outline the essential medical and administrative skills for medical assistants below:

Clinical Skills for medical assistants

Here are important clinical skills medical assistants must have to excel on the job:

Patient care

When patients are in pain, they often feel depressed. A medical assistant should know how to interact with patients in a way that calms them. Doctors in small hospitals often require their medical assistants to help with basic tasks like bathing or dressing the patient. A medical assistant should know how to remain professional while performing these tasks.


A doctor needs to know the blood type of her patient before she recommends medicine to them. So, a medical assistant should be skilled in drawing patients’ blood for tests. When a blood test is available, she must know how to interpret the results and record them in the patients’ file.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

A medical assistant should be able to revive a patient in case of emergencies. Performing CPR seconds before doctors can attend to a patient may save their life.

Knowledge of medical terminology

Medical assistants must understand medical terminologies well enough to explain to patients in layperson’s terms. Also, most medical professionals often speak in medical terminologies out of habit. Understanding medical terms will help you communicate effectively with your co-workers without feeling confused.

Patient and family education

Educating patients and their families on diseases, precautions, and injury prevention is not solely the doctor’s job. As their first point of contact, a patient may believe that you are more approachable than a doctor. In such cases, educate them about treatment procedures and how to manage their illnesses. When patients know more about their conditions, they are less likely to have doubts about the treatment procedure.


An electrocardiogram is a tool used to measure the vital signs of a patient. The vital signs of a patient are crucial pieces of information that a medical assistant must collect while attending to a new patient. So, a medical assistant must be skilled at electrocardiography.

Patient preparation

A medical assistant must be skilled at preparing patients for surgeries and procedures. This includes informing patients on the meals to avoid and interacting with them to ease their minds. If the patient does not understand the doctor’s instructions, the medical assistant needs to simplify them.


A medical assistant should be able to administer injections to the patient. However, the medical law forbids medical assistants from injecting medications into an IV (Intravenous Therapy). Only doctors and nurses may perform such procedures.

Administrative skills for medical assistants

Here are important administrative skills every medical assistant needs to succeed in their role:


A medical assistant performs many duties which require time management and prioritization. They must be able to switch easily between these tasks and complete them promptly. Developing certain qualities can help you juggle your tasks and finish them in record time. These qualities include:

  • Ability to prioritize: Sorting your daily tasks according to their order of importance will help you complete them each day. Perform the critical tasks first and leave the minor duties until later.
  • Self-discipline: Stay focused while you do your tasks. If you get tired or distracted, take a quick break and return to your work.
  • Self-motivation: Use your passion to motivate yourself to be productive at your job. If your passion is helping people, interacting with patients should inspire you to work harder at your job.

Medical coding

A medical assistant should know how to process transactions with patients. He should be able to encode patients’ medical data in the hospital’s reference system.


A medical assistant should know how to perform basic accounting tasks. She should know how to manage budgets and keep track of insurance claims and debtors.

Computer literacy

A medical assistant is responsible for handling medical correspondence and saving hospital accounts on digital spreadsheets. For this reason, he must be proficient with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and other technical knowledge. Today, hospitals are taking advantage of medical record software to store their patients’ data. A medical assistant should master how to operate these software packages.

Scheduling appointments

Most doctors have multiple engagements during the day. An efficient medical assistant knows how to organize a doctor’s many appointments without causing her any inconveniences. When patients call to postpone their appointment, an efficient assistant informs the doctor immediately.

Customer service

A successful medical assistant should know how to offer a friendly welcome to new patients when they arrive at the hospital. Every patient feels reassured when their first point of contact treats them with unwavering attention.


When patients confide in you, they trust you and expect you to keep their information confidential. An excellent medical assistant does not betray patients’ confidence.

Telephone skills

An effective medical assistant observes and understands telephone etiquette. She gives the caller undivided attention. A medical assistant must know how to speak clearly without being loud. Before hanging up, she asks if the caller has delivered all their requests.


The primary duty of the medical assistant is to offer support to doctors and other medical officials. A medical assistant must know how to work hand-in-hand with the other medical professionals to produce quality results. When he notices something that needs attention, a medical assistant should jump in and offer his help. Efficient medical assistants understand that there is always room for improvement. So, they always seek feedback about their work from their co-workers.

Inventory management

Medical assistants must be skilled at monitoring inventory flow. They should be able to determine when to replenish the inventory with fresh supplies.

Personal qualities every medical assistant should have

Your prospective employer probably gets many application letters after announcing the vacant post for a medical assistant at their hospital. If you want your application to stand out, you must appeal to the hiring manager as a person. Highlighting your personal attributes that match the job will convince the employer that you are suitable for the job. Here’s a list of unique attributes you can include in your cover letter:


Medical assistants have to deal with a host of tasks, from administering injections to accounting. To be an efficient medical assistant, you need to be able to switch from one task to another efficiently.


Some patients may be in pain when they arrive at the hospital. They may feel the need to share what they are going through with you. You need to be able to discern what they are feeling and comfort them with your words. Once you approach them with this attitude, they will believe that they can trust you and other professionals in the clinic.

Stress management

Juggling many tasks can be stressful. Even though medical assistants must work hard, they need to know when to drop the pace and take a breather.

Stamina and endurance

Medical assistants have to be on their feet for long periods. So, they need to have a lot of stamina to be productive.


Doctors have to rely on medical assistants to perform most of their tasks effectively. For this reason, medical assistants need to be trustworthy.


Medical assistants collect and manage patients’ personal information daily. They must have sound judgment and keep patients’ personal information confidential.


If you are an introvert, becoming a medical assistant might not be the right career for you. Medical assistants have to do a lot of talking. They need to welcome patients, respond to telephone calls, interact with patients and comfort them whenever necessary. That said, a medical assistant position is more suitable for extroverts than introverts.


Medical assistants may not always agree with the opinions of doctors or nurses. Even so, they must follow the direction of their bosses to the letter.

Team player

Medical assistants work hand-in-hand with many medical officials. So, they must be open to accepting other people’s ideas and collaborating with others to meet a goal.


When they are in pain or going through a severe illness, patients tend to feel depressed. However, if the medical assistant adopts a positive attitude despite this situation, patients may feel encouraged to be more optimistic about life. A career as a medical assistant can be a stepping stone to higher-paying jobs in the healthcare industry. To increase your chances of success, use these lists of medical assistant skills to improve your professionalism on the job, touch the lives of patients, and excel in your position.

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