Urgent care centers are on the rise across the country and professionally trained Medical Assistants play an important role in these facilities that offer non-emergency care to patients needing to be seen quickly by a doctor.

The Chicago-based Urgent Care Association of America estimates that over 3 million patients visit urgent care centers each week. These centers can offer medical examinations, x-rays and other lab work, and staff doctors that are able to prescribe medication. These centers are on the rise and Medical Assistants serve an important role by handling administrative duties, as well as assisting with medical staff during the examination process.

One reason for this rapid growth in urgent care facilities is the lack of primary care doctors. The lack of available doctors can make the waiting period to see a doctor extremely long and many patients are finding that they cannot wait weeks before being seen by a physician.

Emergency room costs, which are constantly rising, are another reason for the growth in urgent care centers. Many illnesses and minor injuries do not require an emergency room visit, especially since the cost is often in the thousands of dollars. Urgent care centers can provide non-emergency care at a fraction of the cost of many emergency rooms and hospitals.

At Milwaukee Career College students of the Medical Assistant training program are prepared to work in a variety of settings, ranging from hospitals and doctor offices, to surgical centers and urgent care centers. Students are trained to prepare patients for examinations and other minor procedures, assist with treatments and record vital signs, and they also perform administrative tasks.