If you’re interested in the medical profession but not necessarily in becoming a doctor or a nurse, consider these steps to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants are hard-working professionals who handle both medical and administrative duties, so depending on the day, they might be alternating between taking phone messages and patients’ pulses. If you’re worried about getting bored in an office job, becoming a medical assistant offers a solution. No two days are the same!
Medical assistants get excellent on-the-job medical experience while enjoying some great position perks; medical assistants can find employment anywhere, and becoming certified is a rewarding experience that doesn’t take long at all. Read on to discover more about what it means to become a medical assistant and how you can get there.
Become a Medical Assistant – Step #1: Earn a medical assisting diploma
It’s important to get a medical assisting diploma from a certified organization that can give you a good headstart in the position. Get as much information as possible about the program you’re interested in. Look at overall costs compared to the training you’ll receive, whether classes are online or in-person, and how alumni have liked the experience. Whenever possible, pick up practical experience, both in the classroom and out of it. Your diploma will look good to potential employees, but any extra experience you can pick up will stand out even more.
Become a Medical Assistant – Step #2: Use internships to help your resume stand out
Jumping right into the job market might seem tempting, but it’ll be a much smoother transition if you can land an internship first. Not only will an internship look good to employers, but it’s a great opportunity for you to discover whether the day to day life of a medical assistant is right for you. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the career in a practical setting, and you’ll be able to see how at least one medical center (and its medical assistants) operate. With extra experience and a much more in-depth knowledge of the field, an internship can dramatically strengthen your future as a medical assistant.
Become a Medical Assistant – Step #3: Get certified
The two primary tests are the Certified Medical Assistant CMA exam and the Registered Medical Assistant exam. They both cover similar material; the primary difference is where they’re required. Certification is a little different for everyone, so make sure you know the details about your state and your employer preferences. If there’s a state where you’d ideally like to work, make sure you get certified to work there. It’s also worth checking to see whether any states offer reciprocity, where a certification in one state meets the requirements in another. You probably have more employment options than you realize!
Become a Medical Assistant – Step #4: Apply and interview
Before diving into your applications, sit down and take stock of what you have to offer. Go through the different aspects of your career path so far, from school to internships and any other relevant experience, and make sure you lay it all out and include it on your resume. Remember, being a medical assistant means flexibility, so don’t limit yourself when you apply. Specialty centers, clinics, hospitals and more all have need of medical assistants, so apply to a range of places (this is another way internships can come in handy—do you prefer the experience of working in a clinic compared to a hospital? The more experience you have, the better you’ll know).
Become a Medical Assistant – Step #5: Keep growing!
Medical assistants are valuable in all kinds of positions. If you like to generalize your work, there’s a place for that. If you prefer to develop a more specific set of interests and skills, there’s a place for that too. Medical assistants can customize their work more than many other positions are able to, which means you have more control over how you handle your workload. Another positive aspect of medical assistantship is that it can be an end goal on its own, or it can be a stepping stone towards another position. There are plenty of other careers that are a natural fit for medical assistants, including pharmacy technician, registered nurse, and laboratory and health technicians.
Whether you want to remain a medical assistant or continue on to explore other options, taking the first steps now towards becoming a medical assistant can be a huge benefit in the future. Medical assistant positions are expected to increase by 23% in the next eight years, making the position more and more attainable. Take advantage of the online resources available to you to learn more about becoming a medical assistant today!
Did you know you can become a medical assistant in just 18 months at Chattanooga College? Learn more here.