Many medical assistant schools offer an externship as part of the training program.
An externship allows medical assistant students to get hands-on training with an experienced medical staff, in the field, with real patients.
Though externships are unpaid, they are a valuable way to apply clinical training and get familiar with a healthcare facility. Most externships are several weeks, varying in length depending on the arrangement the local schools have with nearby doctor’s offices and medical facilities.
One of the biggest advantages of a medical assistant externship is helping students to get a job upon graduation.
What is a Medical Assistant Externship?
An externship is a short-term opportunity for medical assistant students to work alongside medical professionals in a real-world medical office, gaining valuable experience. Students can partner with experienced medical professionals and see how they perform clinical and administrative tasks firsthand.
In medical assistant programs, students learn clinical and administrative skills in the classroom. They practice these skills on fellow students, but this is not the same as real-world experience.
Medical assistant externships are an opportunity to do real-world, hands-on work in a medial office or facility, gaining valuable experience. This helps students gain confidence and practice in a professional setting.
Student Responsibilities During a Medical Assistant Externship
Mostly, you will be shadowing other medical professionals during your externship, but these are responsibilities you will have as well.
- Helping medical assistants with clinical and administrative tasks. Under the supervision of a physician, you will be able to help the medical assistants in the medical office with their daily and weekly responsibilities.
- Actively learning and participating. Be sure to ask questions of the medical staff and learn as much as you can during your externship.
- Completing your required number of externship hours. An externship is a big time commitment, and you must complete it to graduate most medical assistant programs where it is offered.
Expectations During an Externship
Since your medical assistant externship takes place in a real medical office, staffed with medical professionals, seeing real patients, there are certain expectations.
- Come prepared to learn. Focus on what the veteran medical professionals can teach you about working in a medical office. Observe astutely, listen attentively, and come ready to do hands-on work.
- Be a professional. Healthcare offices are a unit of people working together as a team. Maintain a professional demeanor, dress appropriately, carry yourself with business professionalism. Follow all policies and procedures to the letter.
- Focus on the tasks at hand. Working in healthcare can be overwhelming on some days. Maintain your focus on what needs to happen next and move through your tasks diligently. Listen to the physician and other staff for instructions, they know how the office runs.
Are Medical Assistant Externships Paid?
Medical assistant externships are unpaid. There are usually agreements between the medical schools in each area and surrounding medical offices to provide an externship, but they are almost always unpaid.
How to Find a Medical Assistant Externship
Many medical assistant schools offer externships to students as part of the curriculum. If for whatever reason, your medical assistant training program does not offer an externship, you might call around to different medical offices in your area and see who offers this to graduating medical students who have completed the rest of their training.
Benefits of a Medical Assistant Externship
The medical externship is valuable because you gain real-world experience in a short amount of time and meet other medical professionals. The healthcare professionals you work alongside during your externship can help you by writing a letter of recommendation or referring you to employers.
Medical assistant students are encouraged to stay in contact with the other medical workers they meet during their externship. They may be able to give you insights when a job is opening at another facility.
Externships are beneficial for medical assistants as employers prefer candidates with real world experience, who are well-acquainted with how a medical office runs and functions.
Become a Medical Assistant in Less than 10 Months
Looking to become a medical assistant? Graduates of the medical assistant program at Campus will have proficiency in the skills needed to perform diverse duties in the healthcare field and can look forward to an in-demand career.
Each student in the Medical Assisting program is required to finish a 200‐hour unpaid off‐campus Medical Assisting Externship along with your standard course requirements to graduate. To become certified as a Medical Assistant, the classroom work can be completed in as few as 38 weeks, followed by a 4-week externship. This means you can become certified as a Medical Assistant in as little as 42 weeks.