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Becoming a medical research assistant is a great way to work in the medical field.  It’s versatile and allows one to build a medical career around research efforts.  These employees may find themselves in a hospital setting, university setting or in laboratories.  They may work on several research projects at once or as part of one big project.  Everything from new drugs awaiting FDA approval to new medical procedures, there are many aspects that are a part of a research assistant’s work.  While you are able to focus in one on specific area, you’re always better served by gaining experience in several arenas, says A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and Hound.com founder.  By branching out, you’re opening up avenues for advancement.  Physicians are also opting to conduct their own research studies in alternative medicine and other treatment options for everything from skin disorders to cancers and often, these efforts are being conducted within the physician’s office.

Each state will have its own compliance regulations for medical research assistants, says Barnes.  Pre-med students also take advantage of these positions as they continue to work towards their degrees.  It’s considered one of the best ways to gain that always-important experience.  While most of the work is completed in a clinical environment, there are those times when clerical work is a part of this particular career choice.  This might sometimes involve answering phones, collecting specimens for testing,  reading test results, preparing medications, changing dressings and of course, working alongside the physician or team leader.  There are also certification courses and in some states, degrees one must possess before being allowed to work as a medical assistant.  These certifications usually come from the American Association of Medical Assistants, says the Hound.com founder.

Perhaps the best reason for choosing a career as a medical assistant is the anticipated growth in the field.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an increase in demand of up to 35% through the year 2016.  The salaries are quite impressive, too, says A. Harrison Barnes.  As with most careers, the more experience one has, the higher salary he can negotiate.

So what should you do if this is the career path for you?  Barnes suggests checking with your state’s licensing board to get an idea in terms of what the certifications are and from there, contact a school that’s accredited in this particular field.  Again, each state varies greatly, so it’s important to understand exactly what the guidelines are for your particular state.

Finally, be sure to visit Hound.com for more information on everything from compiling the perfect resume to getting a feel for the many job opportunities that are available.  Whether you’re pre-med or are just now graduating high school and are looking for an exciting career opportunity, do yourself a favor and consider a medical research assistant position.

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