Are you considering a career as a medical assistant? If so, completing a medical assistant externship is essential for your professional development and certification. On this page, we will share everything you need to know about medical assisting externships and some tips on finding the perfect one for you. If you are interested in working in healthcare as a medical assistant, then read on to discover why a medical assistant externship should be at the top of your list.
Overview of a Medical Assistant Externship
1. Program Completion / Certification: Most medical assistant programs, including online medical assisting programs, will require completing an externship of 140-180 clinical hours. Completing one of these medical assisting programs and externships is required for certification.
2. Gain real-world experience: A medical assistant externship provides hands-on experience in a healthcare setting, allowing you to apply your skills and knowledge gained in the classroom to real-life situations.
3. Increase job opportunities: Completing a medical assistant externship can enhance your resume and make you stand out to potential employers. The practical experience acquired during the externship demonstrates your ability to handle different tasks and work effectively as part of a healthcare team.
What is a Medical Assistant Externship?
An externship is a short-term hands-on learning experience for medical assistant students to apply their knowledge in real-world healthcare settings. It provides an opportunity for students to shadow professionals and gain practical experience in various clinical and administrative tasks.
- Clinical Experience: Students will work closely with medical assistants, observing and assisting with patient care, vital signs measurement, and medication administration.
- Administrative Experience: They may also learn about appointment scheduling, medical record management, and insurance billing under the guidance of experienced professionals.
Duration and Requirements of a Medical Assistant Externship
During a medical assistant externship, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real healthcare setting. The duration of an externship can vary but typically lasts for a few weeks or months to complete around 140 – 180 clinical practicum hours. To apply for an externship, students may need to meet certain requirements such as completing specific coursework and obtaining necessary certifications. This valuable experience allows students to shadow professionals and learn essential job skills that can enhance their career prospects in the healthcare industry.
Benefits of a Medical Assistant Externship
- Gain practical experience in a real healthcare setting
- Develop essential skills and knowledge through hands-on training
- Improve job prospects by building a strong professional network
In an externship, you can apply your classroom learning to real-world situations, gaining valuable experience that will set you apart when applying for medical assistant jobs. Shadowing experienced professionals allows you to observe their day-to-day tasks and learn from their expertise. Additionally, the connections made during an externship can open doors to future employment opportunities.
5 reasons why a medical assistant externship is essential for your career
1. Gain Practical Experience
Gain Practical Experience: A medical assistant externship provides hands-on experience in a real healthcare setting, allowing you to apply classroom knowledge and develop critical skills. This practical experience enhances your understanding of medical procedures and patient care, preparing you for the demands of a career in healthcare.
Hands-on Learning: A medical assistant externship offers invaluable hands-on experience in a real healthcare setting. This practical experience allows you to apply your classroom knowledge and develop essential skills that will benefit your career.
Exposure to Various Procedures: During an externship, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and assist with a diverse range of medical procedures. This exposure not only enhances your understanding of different specialties but also builds confidence in performing these procedures independently in the future.
2. Build Professional Network
Build Professional Network: During your medical assistant externship, you have the opportunity to interact with experienced professionals in the field. Networking with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can open doors to future job opportunities and mentorship.
Developing a robust professional network is crucial for career progression and advancement.
Building a professional network is crucial for your career as a medical assistant. Networking allows you to connect with professionals in the industry, gain valuable insights, and open doors to potential job opportunities. By attending conferences, joining professional organizations, and actively participating in online communities, you can expand your network and stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in healthcare.
Additionally, building a strong professional network can also lead to mentorship opportunities. Connecting with experienced professionals in your field can provide guidance and support as you navigate through your career journey. Furthermore, networking helps establish credibility within the industry by showcasing your expertise and dedication to continuous learning.
3. Increase Employability
Increase Employability: Completing a medical assistant externship demonstrates your commitment to learning and professional development. It adds valuable experience to your resume, making you more competitive in the job market. Employers often prioritize candidates with practical training experiences like an externship.
To increase your employability as a medical assistant, completing an externship is crucial. Employers highly value the hands-on experience gained through externships, as it demonstrates your ability to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. Additionally, participating in an externship allows you to showcase your adaptability and willingness to learn, making you a standout candidate among other applicants.
4. Explore Different Medical Specialties
Explore Different Medical Specialties: Through an externship, you can explore various medical specialties within different healthcare settings. This exposure allows you to discover which areas interest you most and where your skills align best. Exploring different specialties helps shape your career path as a medical assistant.
Exploring different medical specialties is a crucial step in your career as a medical assistant. By gaining exposure to various fields, you can broaden your knowledge and discover which specialty resonates with your interests and skills. This exploration not only expands your professional horizons but also enhances the quality of care you can provide to patients by allowing you to develop expertise in specific areas. Take advantage of opportunities such as rotations or shadowing experiences to gain valuable insights into different medical specialties and find the path that suits you best.
In addition, exploring diverse medical specialties through an externship enables you to witness firsthand the unique challenges and rewards associated with each field. By observing professionals in action, engaging with patients, and assisting healthcare teams across various specializations, you can better understand the intricacies involved in each discipline. This multifaceted exposure broadens your perspective on patient care while honing essential skills that are applicable across disciplines – ultimately making you a well-rounded medical assistant capable of adapting to any clinical setting.
5. Boost Confidence and Skills
Boost Confidence and Skills: Working alongside experienced professionals during an externship helps build confidence in performing clinical tasks independently. You’ll also enhance essential skills such as communication, time management, problem-solving, and teamwork through real-world scenarios. These newfound abilities will serve as a solid foundation for success throughout your career journey as a medical assistant.
A medical assistant externship is an excellent opportunity to boost your confidence and enhance your skills. By working in a real healthcare setting, you will gain hands-on experience that will prepare you for the challenges of the profession. This practical exposure will help you refine your clinical skills, improve your communication abilities, and develop a strong sense of professionalism. Additionally, interacting with patients and healthcare professionals on a daily basis will build your self-assurance and enable you to thrive in any medical environment.
How long is a medical assisting externship?
A medical assisting externship may last between 160 and 320 hours, depending on the program and educational institution. This hands-on experience is a crucial part of the training for aspiring medical assistants, as it allows them to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world healthcare setting.
During the externship, students work under the supervision of experienced medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, or medical office administrators. They have the opportunity to observe various medical procedures, interact with patients, and assist with administrative tasks. This practical experience helps students develop the skills and confidence needed to excel in their future careers as medical assistants.
The duration of the externship can vary based on a few factors. Some programs may require a minimum number of hours to meet accreditation or certification requirements. Additionally, externship opportunities may be offered on a part-time or full-time basis, which can affect the overall duration. It is important for students to check the specific requirements of their program to ensure they meet all necessary criteria.
Medical assisting externships provide valuable hands-on experience and often serve as a bridge between classroom learning and professional practice. They offer students the opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices. This exposure to different environments allows aspiring medical assistants to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and explore different areas of specialization.
What kind of tasks will I be expected to perform in a medical assistant externship?
A medical assistantship provides a valuable opportunity for individuals to gain real-world experience in the medical field and develop essential skills necessary for a successful career as a medical assistant. During your externship, you will be expected to perform a variety of tasks under the supervision of healthcare professionals. Here are some of the common tasks you may be expected to perform:
1. Patient Care: As a medical assistant extern, you will assist in providing direct patient care. This may include taking vital signs, recording patient information, and preparing patients for examinations.
2. Medical Record Management: You will be responsible for managing patient medical records, ensuring accuracy and confidentiality. This may involve organizing and filing documents, updating electronic health records, and retrieving patient information as needed.
3. Administrative Duties: Medical assistants often have administrative responsibilities, such as scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, and managing patient inquiries. During your externship, you may be expected to assist with these tasks to develop your administrative skills.
4. Laboratory Procedures: Depending on the healthcare setting, you may have the opportunity to assist with basic laboratory procedures. This can include collecting and preparing specimens, performing basic tests, and ensuring proper handling and disposal of laboratory materials.
5. Medical Equipment Handling: Medical assistants are responsible for maintaining and sterilizing medical equipment. During your externship, you may be involved in cleaning and disinfecting instruments, ensuring their proper functioning, and restocking supplies.
Benefits of a medical assisting externship
A medical assisting externship offers numerous benefits to students pursuing a career in the healthcare field. Here are some of the key advantages:
Hands-on Experience: One of the primary benefits of a medical assisting externship is the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience. Through direct involvement in patient care and administrative tasks, students can apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world scenarios. This practical experience helps develop critical skills and builds confidence in performing various medical procedures.
Exposure to Different Healthcare Settings: Medical assisting externships provide students with exposure to a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. This exposure allows students to understand the differences in how healthcare is delivered in different settings and explore potential areas of specialization. By experiencing different environments, students can make informed decisions about their future career paths.
Networking Opportunities: During an externship, students have the opportunity to interact and network with healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and medical office administrators. Building relationships with these professionals can lead to valuable connections and potential job opportunities in the future. Networking is a vital aspect of career development, and an externship provides an ideal platform for students to expand their professional network.
Professional Development: An externship helps students develop essential professional skills that are crucial for success in the healthcare industry. These skills include effective communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management. By working alongside experienced professionals, students can observe and learn from their mentors, acquiring valuable insights and practical knowledge that can enhance their professional growth. This hands-on learning experience allows students to refine their skills and develop a strong foundation for their future careers as medical assistants.
Confidence Building: The hands-on experience gained during an externship can significantly boost a student’s confidence. By actively participating in patient care and administrative tasks under the guidance of experienced professionals, students can gain a sense of accomplishment and build their self-assurance. This confidence is vital in the healthcare field, where quick decision-making and effective communication are essential.
Assisting with Procedures: In some cases, students may have the opportunity to assist with medical procedures during their externship. This invaluable experience allows students to witness and participate in various medical procedures, such as taking vital signs, administering injections, or assisting with minor surgeries. This exposure not only enhances their understanding of medical procedures but also allows them to develop the necessary skills to perform these tasks in the future.
Resume Enhancement: A medical assisting externship is a valuable addition to a student’s resume. It demonstrates their commitment to the field, their willingness to learn and gain practical experience, and their ability to work in a professional healthcare environment. Employers often value candidates with hands-on experience, and having an externship on their resume can set students apart from others in the job market.
Career Exploration: Medical assisting externships provide students with the opportunity to explore different career paths within the healthcare industry. By working in various healthcare settings and interacting with professionals from different specialties, students can gain a better understanding of the different career options available to them. They can observe the day-to-day responsibilities of medical assistants in different settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices, and determine which area aligns best with their interests and goals. This exploration can help students make informed decisions about their future career paths in healthcare.
Networking Opportunities: During an externship, students have the chance to network and build professional relationships with healthcare professionals in their field. These connections can be valuable resources for future job opportunities, references, and mentorship. Building a strong professional network early on can greatly benefit students as they enter the job market and navigate their careers in medical assisting.
Personal Growth: Lastly, a medical assisting externship can contribute to a student’s personal growth. The hands-on experience, exposure to real-world scenarios, and interactions with patients and healthcare professionals can enhance communication skills, empathy, and problem-solving abilities. It can also help students develop a sense of compassion and empathy towards patients, which is essential in the healthcare field. Overall, the personal growth experienced during an externship can shape students into well-rounded individuals and compassionate healthcare professionals.
A medical assisting externship offers numerous benefits for students pursuing a career in healthcare. It provides hands-on learning opportunities, boosts confidence, allows for assisting with medical procedures, enhances a student’s resume, explores different career paths, creates networking opportunities, and contributes to personal growth. By participating in an externship, students can gain valuable experience while growing their network and engaging potential employers.
What type of medical facilities might offer a medical assistant externship?
A medical assistant externship is a valuable opportunity for aspiring medical assistants to gain practical experience in a real-world healthcare setting. A variety of medical facilities may offer externship programs to provide students with hands-on training and exposure to different aspects of the medical field. Here are some examples of medical facilities that commonly offer medical assistant externships.
Hospitals: Large hospitals often have comprehensive externship programs where medical assistant students can work in different departments, such as emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, or internal medicine. This allows students to gain exposure to a wide range of medical conditions and procedures.
Clinics: Medical clinics, including primary care clinics, specialty clinics, and urgent care centers, frequently offer externship opportunities for medical assistants. Working in a clinic setting can provide students with experience in various aspects of outpatient care, such as patient intake, vital signs measurement, medication administration, and assisting with minor procedures.
Physician’s Offices: Many private practices, including family medicine, internal medicine, and specialty practices, may offer medical assistant externships. Students working in these settings may assist with patient examinations, record-keeping, administering injections, preparing specimens for laboratory testing, and performing administrative tasks.
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities: Externships in long-term care facilities allow students to gain experience in geriatric care, including assisting with activities of daily living, medication management, and interacting with residents and their families.
Rehabilitation Centers: Medical assistant students may find externship opportunities in rehabilitation centers, where they can gain experience in providing care to patients recovering from surgeries, injuries, or illnesses. This may involve assisting with physical therapy exercises, monitoring vital signs, and helping patients with mobility and daily activities.
Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Externships in ambulatory surgical centers can provide medical assistant students with exposure to surgical procedures and perioperative care. Students may have the opportunity to assist with pre-operative assessments, surgical instrument sterilization, and post-operative patient care.
Laboratories: Some medical assistant externship programs may be available in laboratory settings, where students can learn about specimen collection and processing, performing basic laboratory tests, and ensuring accuracy and quality control in lab procedures.
Community Health Centers: Externships in community health centers allow students to gain experience in providing healthcare services to underserved populations. Students may assist with health screenings, patient education, and community outreach programs.
Imaging Centers: Externships in imaging centers can provide medical assistant students with exposure to a variety of diagnostic imaging procedures, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans. Students may assist with patient positioning, equipment preparation, and image documentation.
Research Facilities: Some medical assistant externship programs may be available in research facilities, where students can gain experience in clinical research and data collection. This may involve assisting with patient recruitment, data entry, and adherence to research protocols.
Overall, a medical assistant externship can be a valuable opportunity for students to gain practical experience in a variety of healthcare settings.
Finding a Medical Assistant Externship
Toward the end of your medical assistant program you will begin your externship, here are some ways you can start finding the best opportunities for your externship.
College career services programs can be a great resource for students looking to find medical assistant externships. Career services staff can provide guidance and resources to help students identify potential opportunities, create professional resumes and cover letters, and prepare for interviews. Furthermore, many colleges have connections with local employers that may offer medical assistant externships and can provide students with valuable insight into the process of applying and interviewing for these positions.
Job Search Websites
Job search websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster are great tools for students looking to find medical assistant externships. These websites offer a wide range of postings from employers seeking qualified individuals to fill these positions. Additionally, these sites provide valuable resources such as tips on how to make your resume stand out, how to write a successful cover letter and the best ways to prepare for an interview.
Local medical clinics are an excellent resource for students looking to gain practical experience in medical assisting. Many clinics offer externships and can provide invaluable on-the-job training supervised by experienced professionals. These externships may range from short-term observation opportunities to long-term hands-on experiences.
Part of medical assistant schooling is the externship. The duration of a medical assisting externship can vary between 160 and 320 hours. This practical experience is an integral part of the training for aspiring medical assistants and allows them to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world healthcare setting. By working under the supervision of experienced professionals, students have the opportunity to observe medical procedures, interact with patients, and assist with administrative tasks. The duration of the externship may be influenced by accreditation or certification requirements, as well as whether it is offered on a part-time or full-time basis. Regardless of the specific length, medical assisting externships provide valuable hands-on experience and help students develop the skills and confidence needed for their future careers.