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Similarities and Differences Between Medical Assistants and Patient Care Technicians

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Medical Assistant Work

When we were young, many of us wanted to be a doctor or a nurse when we grew up. That is because those were the jobs we were familiar with. However, there are many other great jobs in the medical field. Two of these jobs are Medical Assistants and Patient Care Technicians. Both of these jobs involve helping people and working in the healthcare field, but you can find out more about the similarities and differences between these two jobs below.

Similarities Between MAs and PCTs

Check out some of the similarities between medical assistants and patient care technicians right here.

  • Basic Medical Skills Needed – Medical assistants and patient care technicians are not required to perform complex procedures, but they do need to know how to perform basic medical care. For example, both of these jobs require you to know how to measure vital signs and perform basic medical tests.
  • Growing Employment Opportunities – Another similarity between these two jobs is that they will both experience growing employment opportunities in the coming years because there is more of a demand for workers in the medical field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that from 2016 to 2026 employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent, and employment of patient care technicians is projected to grow 11 percent.

Both medical assistants and patient care technicians are working in the healthcare field with growing employment options. They both need to know some basic medical care and procedures, but there are differences between these two jobs as well.

Differences Between MAs and PCTs

Now that we have discussed the similarities, let’s check out a few of the key differences between medical assistants and patient care technicians.

  • Specific Job Focus – Above, we discussed that both medical assistants and patient care technicians need to have some basic medical skills and patient care skills. That is a similarity between their positions. However, when it comes to how they spend their time every day, things get a little bit different. Patient care technicians have a priority to the patient. Their main focus is that the patient is receiving good care, and they help the patients in any way they can. Medical assistants need to help with patient care as well, but a large part of their job also involves administrative and office work. For example, medical assistants can commonly be found scheduling appointments, stocking the office, taking inventory, doing billing, and dealing with insurance.
  • Education Requirements – These two jobs are also different in their education requirements. For both of these positions, you need to know some basic medical care, but neither of them requires long educational programs. To become a patient care technician, you need to complete a training program and pass a certification exam. To become a medical assistant, you often have to attend a certificate or training program, but there are no formal education requirements for this work.
  • Place of Employment – Another difference between these two careers can be the location of their employment. It is common for a medical assistant to work in a doctor’s office. In a doctor’s office, the medical assistant can perform administrative tasks as well as basic medical tasks. On the other hand, patient care technicians are more likely to be employed in a nursing home or hospital. This allows them to focus more on patients and the care that they receive over the long term.

As you can see, there are some key differences between these two jobs. These differences can help you determine which job option is right for you.

Which Option is Right for Me?

best tech careers 2017If the medical field interests you as a career, becoming a medical assistant or patient care technician could be a good option. However, only you can decide which option is best for you. A good way to help your decision is to check out the differences between these two jobs that we discussed above. When you take a closer look at the differences, you can decide which option sounds better to you.

If you have any questions about Medical Assistant and/or Patient Care Technician careers, you can reach out to FVI School of Nursing and Technology or FVI. FVI has a medical assistant training program as well as a patient care technician training program, so we can help you get started on either one of these great careers.


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