Congratulations – you’ve decided to pursue a career as a medical assistant. You may be wondering how you can gain experience that will help you land the job of your dreams. Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who work alongside doctors and nurses in a wide range of clinical settings. If you’re not sure how to build experience as an entry-level medical assistant, Prism Career Institute outlines a few strategies you can use.
Hone Your Skills with an Externship
Externships are similar to internships but are offered or required as part of an academic program of study. If you’re enrolled in a medical assistant training program, you may be required to complete an externship as a prerequisite for graduation. Externships provide students with hands-on, practical experience in different clinical environments.
During an externship, you’ll get a chance to try out the tasks that a certified medical assistant does – such as taking patient vitals, scheduling appointments, and assisting doctors – while benefiting from the close supervision of an experienced healthcare professional. With an externship, you can apply the knowledge you’re learning in the classroom in a real-world setting. Plus, you’ll have the advantage of growing your professional network, building relationships that may help you find future employment.
Externships can take place in a variety of settings, from a large hospital to a small family medical practice. If you’re interested in working with a specific population, such as older adults, expectant mothers, or adolescents, check with your academic advisor about the possibility of a placement that will let you gain relevant experience. If you’re not sure what type of jobs you want to apply for after graduation, an externship can help you learn what kind of work you like (and don’t like).
Take Advantage of Your Career Services Office
If you’re currently in a medical assistant program, check if your school or college has a career services department. This office may be able to help you with valuable soft skills, such as:
- Interviewing techniques
- Writing resumes and cover letters
- Customer service skills
A little extra help can go a long way in helping you build confidence as you start your job search process and transition into the working world.
Do Your Research
As you reach the end of your educational training, make sure you spend time learning about potential employers in the area where you want to work. Think about the setting and the type of patients you want to work with and look online to see which healthcare facilities are hiring. Familiarize yourself with job application requirements, and make sure your resume is up to date.
You should also consider your next steps carefully: do you want to enter the workforce right away, or pursue additional training? One of the benefits of becoming a medical assistant is that the skills you develop are transferable. If you decide later on that you want to become a nurse, you’ll already have a strong educational background in anatomy, phlebotomy, and patient education.
Learn More about Our Medical Assistant Program
With dedication and the right resources, you can learn how to build experience as an entry-level medical assistant. Students in the Medical Assistant program at Prism Career Institute receive the training and support they need to enter the healthcare field after graduation. For more information about the Medical Assistant program at our campuses in Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, contact us today.