Terms Relating to Schools for Medical and Dental Assistants and Technicians
Dental and medical assistants provide the support that doctors and dentists need to care for patients effectively. Some of their duties include administrative tasks such as filing, scheduling, answering phones, telephoning prescriptions to the pharmacy and processing claim forms, and also hands-on assistance in the form of analyzing charts and assisting the physicians in the examination rooms. If you plan to pursue a career as a medical assistant, then you might find it helpful to be familiar with a few commonly used terms:
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): Medical assistants who have passed the American Association of Medical Assistant’s exam.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): A certification that is awarded to a medical assistant who has worked as a medical assistant for a minimum of five years or who has graduated from medical assistant's program. This certification is given by the American Medical Technologists.
Dental Assistant: Dental assistants provide support to dentists by performing administrative tasks, sterilizing equipment, fabricating provisional crowns and holding suction devices. While many states require certification and/or a college degree, some states do not.
Dental Hygienist: A dental worker who is licensed and qualified in preventative dental services. Hygienists whiten, polish and scale teeth, as well as give x-rays.
Nurse: Nurses provide medical assistance at a more involved level than medical assistants. They are qualified to administer IVs, operate medical equipment, administer internal anesthesia and injections.
Physician Assistant: A licensed and trained healthcare professional who operates under the supervision of a physician. Physician assistants are not the same as medical assistants; physician assistants have advanced medical degrees, they can treat patients with a degree of autonomy and they do not perform clerical work.