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Medical Assistant vs Pharmacy Technician

Maria Zegarra

Medical Assistant Career

medical assistant in action

If you’re considering a career in healthcare, you’ve probably come across the  Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician programs as possible options to pursue. Both careers are a great start in the field, often offering excellent work environments, and the chance to make a difference in people’s lives. Even though both fields have similarities, Medical assistants and pharmacy technicians perform vastly different duties and typically work in completely different types of facilities. A Medical Assistant usually works at a hospital, lab, or medical office, while a Pharmacy Tech works at Pharmacies or Hospitals.

Pursuing a new career takes time, hard work, and dedication over the course of a year or more, depending on the program, and area of expertise. Finding the right career that suits you personally is crucial to success in a short and long term. That’s why before deciding which one is the right path for you, it’s best to take the time to do your research, read reviews, and wave your options. When entering a career in healthcare, it’s best to consider if that choice is the ideal for you.

Medical Assistant

Medical assisting is one of the most in-demand careers in healthcare. To become a medical assistant, you can choose to do from a variety of medical assistant training programs that last anywhere from 8 months to two years. Most programs provide hands-on experience through an externship opportunity. When choosing the right school for you, keep in mind that choosing one that offers certifications since it will provide better (more) job opportunities, and higher earning potential.

People who enter medical assisting enjoy an average salary of around $32,480 per year as well as excellent employment benefits that include vacation and sick pay, health and dental insurance, retirement plans, bonuses, etc. Since most medical assistants work in physician’s offices and clinics, this career provides a clean, well-lighted employment environment with typical working hours that include 8-hour days, 5 days per week, and on weekends.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As a result, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.

The responsibilities of a Medical assistant may vary depending on their work environment and the task they need to complete every day. Medical Assistants are required to remind professional and could be exposed often, to stressful situations They are responsible for putting patients at ease and making then comfortable when visiting the doctor, as well as scheduling appointments, dealing with insurance paperwork and other duties required to maintain the medical office running smoothly.

To find out more about our Medical Assistant Program click here

pharmacy techs in action

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technicians work alongside licensed pharmacists to provide medication and healthcare products to a variety of patients. Pharmacy technicians manage inventory, count and measure medications, and complete dosage forms. Those who want to enter this career field may be able to get on-the-job training or can complete an official program through an accredited school or a pharmacy chain, such as Walgreen’s. Most programs take less than a year to complete, which is comparable to the length of training for medical assistants.

Certification is not required in all states but is highly recommended for the best job offers and earnings potential. The average salary of a pharmacy technician is around $31,750, often enjoying but pharmacy technicians often enjoy full employment benefits. People who choose this career may work full- or part-time. Pharmacy technicians may be required to work any hours, especially in hospitals and other facilities that provide 24-hour a day care. This field offers ample job openings and has a job outlook prediction from 2016-2026 of 12%.


Medical Assistant vs Pharmacy Technician: What’s the difference between the two?

Vast yet very similar, both careers are involved with healthcare facilities and dealing with patients daily to ensure their health. Depending on the work environment, Medical Assistants and Pharmacy Techs may even meet up with each other on a regular basis.

Pharmacy Technicians must be certified before they start on their career. Employers will also require a drug screen and background check to be done before being hired. Although Medical Assistants are not required to be certified, we strongly encourage students to take the test to become certified. Becoming a certified Medical Assistant may open more opportunities for students and will allow them to grow in their chosen career field.


To find out more about our Pharmacy Technician program click here

Medical assistant practicing phlebotomy

Employment & Salary

Both the medical assisting and pharmacy technician fields are predicted to experience excellent growth in coming years, allowing for increased employment opportunities for both types of professionals. In addition, people in both careers can expect to earn an average salary of around $30,000, plus benefits. The major employment difference between the two professions is the type of facility in which they work.

Before you choose a healthcare career, take the time to thoroughly understand all facets of each job. This will allow you to choose a training program that fits your needs, so you can go to work in a career that will provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment and satisfaction.

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