What Skills are Important for Medical Assistants to Have?

Posted On March 21,2023

Education and training are one aspect of becoming a medical assistant (MA). There are several soft and hard skills that will help you succeed in this rewarding profession. You only get one chance to make the most of your training program. If you are considering enrollment in a medical assisting training program, now is the time to learn the skills you need to succeed in your studies. Practice and perfect those skills now to avoid missing out on any opportunities later.  

young medical assistant standing by an elderly man in a wheelchair smiling

3 Essential Soft Skills for Medical Assistants to Learn 

Soft skills are non-technical skills, like leadership, time management, and teamwork. Even though soft skills are difficult to measure, they can be acquired and developed like the technical skills you learn in school. Soft skills are what will set you apart in school and during your medical assisting career. 


As with any healthcare career, connecting with patients on a human level goes a long way. Kindness, patience, understanding, and empathy are the baseline for a good bedside manner. Since MAs are often the first-person a patient meets, you must understand where they’re coming from. You should have empathy to comfort and prepare them for the next steps. 

Communication Skills

Since MAs interact directly with patients, they must be able to explain and translate complex medical terminology and jargon so patients can understand. Sometimes this is done in stressful, high-anxiety situations which is why calm, clear, and reassuring communication is a prerequisite for a successful MA career. It’s a good idea to start practicing your communication skills during your training program. 

Problem Solving 

On occasion, problems may arise in your training program or on the job. Having finely tuned problem-solving skills can help you take swift action or make the most of a difficult situation. You can develop problem-solving skills during your MA program by putting forth your best effort in class projects and critical thinking assignments.

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3 Essential Hard Skills for Medical Assistants to Learn 

The technical skills you will learn in your MA program will give you a foundation to prepare you for your new career. Each job will have a specific set of hard skills you must learn to be an effective member of the team. 

Vital Signs and Basic Procedures 

Before patients see the physician, a medical assistant often measures and records the patient’s vital signs. These include height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. They may also collect blood and other samples, administer medications and vaccinations, and perform basic medical procedures with or without assistance. 

Administrative Skills 

Medical assistants often manage and input critical information like patient data, insurance info, payments, prescription and lab orders and other office administration duties. Basic accounting, data entry and office management skills are essential. You may learn how to use scheduling software in your MA program but having basic computer skills is a plus. 

CPR and First Aid 

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid are essential skills you can learn anytime—even before your training program starts. Even if you’re required to take it during your MA program, you will pass with flying colors because it will be a refresher for you. 

Ready to Get Started? 

The soft and hard skills listed here are just a small sampling of what you’ll need to know and learn during your MA training program. If you are interested in becoming a medical assistant, contact Athena Career Academy today to get started.

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