If you have talked to other graduates of medical assisting programs, then you know that while the job market for them is good, it can still be pretty competitive when the search for a job begins. Most employers are looking for graduates who have some on the job experience and do not need to be trained in every aspect of the job duties. As more schools begin to offer externships and hands-on training, students will need to find additional ways to compete with other graduates who might have a similar educational or training background
If you look around at your fellow students and begin to feel the need to stand out, you can boost your resume with additional opportunities that are not offered within your program of study.
Becoming certified in one or more specialties is beneficial for medical assistants. Additional certifications allow you to take on more responsibilities in a medical office beyond the typical administrative and clinical duties. By cross training in several different fields, you may be able to move between different job positions, take on more advanced roles, and manage other medical assistants who have less training than you.
At a minimum, you should study and pass the certified clinical medical assisting (CCMA) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) exams in order to perform clinical duties in a healthcare office.
Additional healthcare certifications that could enhance your resume include:
An externship is an opportunity for you to work in a local medical office and gain on the job experience while you are still in school. As you are working, you start to get a feel for what the job you are studying for is going to be like. You should ask questions if you are not sure how something works or keep a log of questions so that you can ask your instructor them later.
You should also try and network with the employees at your externship office, in order to leave the door open for future opportunities after you graduate. Many students have gone back to the offices where they trained to work part or full-time jobs or to use them as stepping stones for getting into the position that they want. Try to remember the interactions that you have on the job so that when a potential employer asks you a question like, "What do you like most about being a medical assistant?" or "Tell me about a patient encounter that was difficult and how you handled the situation," you already have an answer ready.
Volunteering is a personal decision made by thousands of people each year who have a desire to contribute their time and effort to a cause that is important to them. If you are considering volunteering your time as a medical assistant or just as a member of the community, some charities you may want to consider are:
You can also use a website like VolunteerMatch to search for opportunities at local organizations in your community. Through volunteer work, you can expand your social network beyond just your school, externship, and/or workplace. You will also develop communication and social skills as you volunteer with other people who share the same goal as you. These team skills are especially important when you make the transition into working for a hospital or medical office where you are part of a team caring for patients
Through additional certifications, a successful externship, and a volunteer experience or two, you should be able to stand out to a potential employer as not just another graduate but a well-rounded individual with a genuine interest in your field.