How to Prepare for your Medical Assistant Program

Once you have decided to become a Medical Assistant, the next step is to select the right education path.

Step 1: Do Your Research
Familiarize yourself with the basics: what’s the role of a Medical Assistant, what are the job duties and what’s the career outlook.

Step 2: Select a Medical Assistant Program
Consider factors like reputation of the school, tuition costs, location and length of program. It’s also important to discern whether you can adjust your schedule to meet the program’s requirements.

Some schools provide you with all the equipment you may need during class as part of your tuition costs. Some of those items include scrubs, stethoscope, and textbooks to name a few. You may need to bring a notebook, note cards for flashcards, and writing tools.

Also, look at the curriculum. It should include the following courses:

  • Introduction to Medical Assisting
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Patient Care
  • Administrative Assisting
  • Career Placement Services
  • Externship

Preparing for Class
As you prepare for class, review and organize your supply list. Wear comfortable shoes. There are many schools that offer hands-on experience so you’ll find yourself on your feet as if you were working in a medical office.

Studying for Tests
Whether tests make you sweat, or you breeze through them, it’s important to prepare to do your best work. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute to study for a test. Instead, study a little each night to prevent falling behind. Your instructors want to see you succeed, so ask them questions and help if you need it.

Many Medical Assistant Programs include an externship since it’s required by the state of Arizona. An externship involves working as a Medical Assistant in a clinic, doctor’s office, or other location for a set period. Externships offer an excellent opportunity to develop your skills and use what you learned in the classroom. Treat the externship as a job. Work hard, arrive on time, be helpful and learn as much as possible. You’ll earn an impressive experience that looks great on a resume.

Step 3: Graduate and Seek Employment
The goal of any Medical Assistant Program is to prepare students for an entry-level position as a Medical Assistant. Course work should also serve as a stepping stone on your career path and provide you with real-world experiences.

Many schools offer job placement assistance. Some schools work in Career Placement Services into their curriculum. This course includes interviewing tips and techniques as well as how to perform a job search. Some schools also include creating a resume, cover letter and reference list with your assistance for you. Having this service is helpful when a potential employer asks for an interview.

Although a job search can be daunting, staying focused on your goal can help you remain motivated while you’re finding the right job.

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