16 Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are essential to the healthcare industry.

They play a key role in supporting doctors in hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and other healthcare facilities.

As a medical assistant, you’ll work directly with patients and teamwork with doctors, nurses, lab personnel, and other medical professionals.

You may also help with clerical duties like scheduling, billing, and bookkeeping.

Sound interesting?

The following pros and cons of this profession will give you a better idea if it’s a good career path for you.

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Pros of Being a Medical Assistant

There are many positive aspects to establishing a career as a medical assistant.

Here are just a few:

Job Security

Healthcare is ever with us.

If you choose a career in healthcare, you’ll always have work to do.

Job security is a great incentive to become a medical assistant.

You can have peace of mind knowing you’ll have a way of supporting your family now and in the future.

In fact, this career path, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is only expected to grow in the years to come.

By starting your career today, you can prepare for all that this profession has to offer later down the line.

Steady Income

You won’t get rich working as a medical assistant, but you can count on a steady income to provide for those you love.

Medical assistants are needed in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, research labs, and other healthcare environments.

This gives you ample opportunity to explore job openings and choose the best position for you.

Some jobs may pay more than others or provide better prospects for advancement.

By honing your skills, you can earn a good living to meet the needs of your family.

Diversity of Duties

The duties of a medical assistant are many and varied.

If you enjoy variety in your work, this could be a good career path for you.

Medical assistants are trained to receive patients, record medical histories, take vital signs, draw blood, help with lab work, and more.

You may also help with clerical duties like billing, updating records, and checking health insurance.

Your busy schedule will leave you no time to get bored.

Opportunities to Specialize

Like many healthcare professionals, medical assistants can specialize in a specific field to expand their career.

You can pursue your interests in pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, cardiology, general medicine or other healthcare field.

By completing a study program or on-the-job training, you can learn the knowledge and skills required for your specialization.

Specializing enables you to learn and grow in your profession.

By developing and expanding your knowledge and skills, you have a better chance of advancing your career.

Short-term Training Program

Unlike becoming a doctor, establishing a career as a medical assistant doesn’t take years and years.

You can receive training via a certification or Associate’s degree program.

Many vocational and technical schools offer one-year medical assistant training programs that can help kickstart your career.

You can even take a test to become certified in your field.

Not all medical assistant positions require certification, but it’s a plus in your favor when applying for a job.

A two-year Associate’s degree program provides more in-depth training for this profession.


Many employers offer benefits to full-time medical assistants who have received tenure for their positions.

In addition to a regular paycheck, you may qualify for health insurance, dental or vision care, paid vacation, or sick leave.

If you have a family, your loved ones can benefit from health coverage as well.

This can be a tremendous help in paying for your family’s medical care.

A benefit package can be a great incentive to commit to a full-time medical assistant job.

Job Satisfaction

A career as a medical assistant puts you in a position to be of service and help to others.

You’ll work directly with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are doing the same.

Through the myriad of services you provide, you can improve the health and well-being of patients in your care.

You can be a source of comfort and strength to people who are experiencing difficult health issues.

You can have the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference in the lives of those in your local community.


Like nurses, medical assistants can also accept traveling positions and work in different cities and states.

If you take on a position that calls for travel, you’ll be able to explore different parts of the country while earning your pay.

For those who enjoy traveling, this could be an extra perk of the job.

As a traveling medical assistant, you’ll meet new people, enjoy unique work environments, and learn from skilled physicians across the country.

Cons of Being a Medical Assistant

All professions have their good points and their bad points and the job of medical assistant is no exception.

Here are some possible negatives of establishing a career in this field.

Long Hours

Some medical assistant positions require that you work long shifts, putting in as much as 10–12 hours a day.

Your schedule may be sporadic, requiring that you work days, evenings, and nights.

If you’re new to the job or work in a hospital, you may be asked to come in on holidays or weekends.

An erratic work schedule can impact your social or family life and make you think twice about your choice of career.

Low Salary

Compared to other healthcare professionals, the entry-level salary of a medical assistant isn’t that great.

You may be able to meet your needs, but not have much left to splurge on “wants.”

Knowing you have a steady paycheck with job security can help offset starting off at a low pay rate.

You can also look for positions that offer opportunities for advancement or pay raises over time.

Finding a job with benefits like health insurance, paid vacation, and paid holidays can help make up for lower pay.

Health Risks

There are health risks to working as a medical assistant as you come in contact with sick people all the time.

You risk exposure to infectious diseases on the job and could even bring germs home to infect your family.

If you work long hours in a busy work environment, you could suffer from stress and fatigue.

Your weakened state could make you prone to developing health issues of your own.

Working with agitated patients or those with mental problems can put you at risk of physical harm.


The healthcare field can be very demanding and medical assistants often feel the brunt of their job.

Working with difficult patients, doctors, or nurses day in and out can be very stressful.

You may have run-ins with a patient’s family or feel burdened over a patient’s diagnosis.

Falling behind in your duties due to a heavy workload will only increase your stress levels.

Work stress can bleed into your personal life and lower your quality of life.

Taxing Work Environment

A lot is expected of medical assistants, especially those who work in a hospital environment.

In addition to helping with patients, you may have administrative responsibilities to take care of.

You may be multitasking all day long just to keep up with your various duties.

The heavy load coupled with a fast-paced environment can be physically and mentally exhausting.

If you’re not up to the challenge, this may not be the right career path for you.

Lack of Autonomy

Although medical assistants carry a heavy load, they don’t have much autonomy.

As a medical assistant, you can’t make decisions on your own concerning patient care.

You’ll be expected to do what you’re told and follow the doctor’s orders.

Lack of autonomy can impact your performance, as you have little say in how things are run.

Over time, you may start to feel unimportant and lose interest in your job.

Suffering and Loss

Like most healthcare professionals, medical assistants have to deal with suffering and loss.

Patients you’ve grown close to may take a turn for the worse and pass on.

Death and suffering can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being.

If you’re not careful, sadness and depression can creep into your life.

Separating your work life from your home life is essential to working long-term in this job.

Legal Risks

Like doctors, medical assistants are liable for malpractice.

If you’re negligent in your duties and your negligence causes a patient harm, you could be sued for damages.

A lawsuit could be the end of your medical assistant career.

Many people find the legal risks of this profession not worth the price.

Although medical assistants put their careers on the line to help others, sometimes it comes at a cost.

16 Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Medical AssistantCons of Being a Medical Assistant
Job SecurityLong Hours
Steady IncomeLow Salary
Diversity of DutiesHealth Risks
Opportunities to SpecializeStress
Short-term Training ProgramTaxing Work Environment
BenefitsLack of Autonomy
Job SatisfactionSuffering and Loss
TravelLegal Risks

Should You Become a Medical Assistant?

Being a medical assistant can be intriguing for people who have what it takes to do the job.

As a healthcare professional, you’ll face ups and downs on the job with many challenges to overcome in between.

Your services, however, will not be in vain, as you’ll be helping others in need.

A career in service can be very rewarding indeed.

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