A medical assistant, also known as a “clinical assistant” or healthcare assistant in the US is an allied health professional who supports the work of physicians and other health professionals, usually in a clinic setting. Medical assistants can become certified through an accredited program. Medical assistants perform routine tasks and procedures in a medical clinic.
A “medical assistant” may be certified or registered, or may be a loosely defined group (covering related occupational titles such as “medical office assistant”, “clinical assistant”, “assistant medical officer”, or “ophthalmic assistant”). The occupation should not be confused with physician assistants, who are licensed professionals trained to practice medicine and perform surgical procedures in collaboration with a physician.
In military settings, occupations that provide primary medical care may go under similar titles, while other occupations may have different titles with similar responsibilities, such as medical assistant in the U.K. Royal Navy or hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy.