Tips for Choosing a Medical Assisting Externship

medical assistant in an interview for externship

The Next Step to Your First CMA Job

When you are almost finished with your diploma, certificate or degree program in medical assisting, there is a good chance you will want to know how to get a medical assistant externship. Choosing the right one can offer you a great experience that may immerse you in the role you want upon graduation.

You are probably well aware that a successful externship can often lead to your next job. Externships are usually unpaid and last anywhere from 6-12 weeks in most cases.

Medical assistant externship opportunities are normally found through schools that offer relevant programs. But opportunities can also be found at local job fairs, through relevant associations, or by contacting facilities directly that have open positions.

If you are nearing the end of your program and want to know how you can prepare for your externship, we've compiled the following list just for you. 

Essential List of Medical Assistant Externship Tips To Finish Your Training 

  • Treat it like a job search.

    When compiling your options and narrowing down to your top picks, get in the mindset that this is preparation for your next job. If possible, look at different types of facilities, and ask as many questions as possible about your role. And be sure to ask if they have job opportunities for medical assistants who exhibit professional level skills. 

  • Be ready for the interview.

    If the thought of sitting through a job interview makes you nervous, then take a deep breath and read through this list of medical assistant externship interview questions you may be asked. Write down your answers and practice. You can never be too prepared – just like a job interview. 

  • Shop around.

    Not every student is lucky enough to live near several medical facilities that offer externship opportunities. But if you do, it never hurts to weigh as many options as possible before making your decision. You never know, that little physician's office that you almost overlooked could have a job waiting for you, or offer great benefits and a 9-5 schedule that works with your lifestyle. 

  • Conduct research.

    Take advantage of career services. Remember all that talk about conducting research you heard in school? You should apply your education to your externship search as well. Do a search for every facility you find, and see if any reviews or blogs have been written about someone's experience there. If nothing else, pick up the phone and ask to speak with someone in human resources. This can be a great pre-cursor to an in-person interview or a chance to get your foot in the door. There are plenty of medical assisting externship resources online through reputable sites and organizations. 

  • Keep your mind open.

    We like to think we have everything figured out. What we want to do, where we want to work, how much money we'll make, etc. But you know by now that life seldom goes exactly as planned. Plus, you have nothing to lose by having an open mind and keeping your options open. 

Once you choose your CMA externship, you'll have a chance to display your skills to prospective employers. But this is also a chance to continue learning. Don't get trapped in a mindset that is constantly seeking ways to prove you know everything.

You should become a pro at observing and taking mental notes when you see experienced professionals taking patient assessments and delivering care.

Most medical assisting externship sites evaluate performance about halfway through and again near the end of your time at the facility.

Make the most out of this experience by maintaining a positive, flexible attitude throughout your externship. Remember, prospective employers are looking for more than professional skills. They want people who will join their team and do their best to stay positive and help everyone deliver the best care for their patients.

Good luck! And let us know how it goes!

 


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