Soft Skills Every Medical Assistant Needs

Posted On September 11,2020

Medical assistant and staff with a patient.

If you enjoy working with people and have a strong desire to help, then you already have some of the skills you’ll need to become a successful medical assistant (MA). While your medical assisting program will teach you all of the clinical, hands-on training you’ll need to perform the duties of a medical assistant, it’s also important to develop your soft skills.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are the personal attributes that allow you to influence and enhance the way you communicate and build relationships with colleagues, patients, and peers.

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Why are Soft Skills Important in Medical Assisting?

Soft skills can greatly impact your career prospects, job performance, and personal relationships. Employers aren’t always looking for the top performing medical assisting student with perfect grades, but rather a well-rounded person with certain soft skills in addition to technical qualifications. In some cases, it’s a person’s soft skills that can help advance their career progression over time, more than their clinical skills.

What are Some Soft Skills That a Medical Assistant Should Have?

In addition to performing the clinical and administrative duties of a medical assistant, here are six examples of the many soft skills that can help you achieve success in your new career as an MA.


Routinely speaking to patients, family members, and coworkers is a big part of the daily duties of a medical assistant, so strong communication skills are a must. Often you’ll be with people who aren’t feeling well, or are stressed by their current situation so effectively communicating to them in a kind and understanding way is very important.

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Medical assistants often encounter patients during moments of vulnerability, uncertainty, or crisis, so the ability to maintain your composure and provide an empathetic response is crucial when effectively dealing with patients, along with earning their trust and respect.


A successful MA is a team player and someone who is willing to jump in at a moment’s notice to help out whenever needed, often without being asked or ever complaining about it.


Medical assistants are often the face of healthcare, as they greet patients, ask questions and talk patients through what’s going to happen during a procedure or exam. While healthcare environments often induce anxiety in patients, a positive, cheerful attitude from the MA can greatly impact their experience of the whole visit in a positive way. Maintaining a positive attitude around your co-workers is equally important, especially when it comes to improving workplace morale.

Stress Management

It’s imperative for an MA to have proper stress management skills, as the healthcare field thrives in a fast paced and often stressful environment.

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MA’s should exhibit confidence when speaking to patients and co-workers, as it not only shows a certain level of competency but strongly influences the way they’re viewed by patients.

How to Develop or Improve Soft Skills

It’s a common misconception that soft skills are inherited or something you’re born with. While there is some truth to this, they can also be developed or improved through determination, encouragement, and constructive criticism.

Practice is one way to develop your soft skills. Remember, every single interaction you have with someone is an opportunity to practice and develop your soft skills. Volunteering is another helpful tool when it comes to improving your soft skills by providing interactions with a diverse group of people.

Ready to Put Your Soft Skills to Work?

If you’re ready to pursue an exciting and rewarding career as a medical assistant, Athena Career Academy will help you practice and perfect all of the skills you need to become a successful medical assistant. Contact us today to learn more about our accredited programs and flexible class schedules.