Monday, March 07, 2005
Finding Employment after Externship
In Yahoo! Health Groups for Medical Assistant Students and Graduates
a member wrote:
> Getting a little anxious about finding employment after externship?
> When I signed up for this (medical assisting vocational training) program,
> there was a list of all the jobs I'd be "qualified" for: medical technologist,
> pharmacy tech, among others.
> Well, I have yet to see an ad for a pharmacy tech that
> doesnt require a graduate of a pharmacy tech program (not MA)
> unless you want to work for a grocery store pharmacy for 7.00
> an hour. Same for the medical tech, this program just doesn't
> seem to qualify me for what they said it would....
Having been a student once myself, and having been in the same position, having heard similar promises, having seen similar lists at my school, and having read similar wanted ads in our local newspapers, I can relate very well to this medical assisting student's fears and concerns. I don't think that there is something wrong with those feelings, neither do I think, that there is something wrong with the list of other related job opportunities that were posted at the school. I do believe, however, that there probably is a miscommunication, misunderstanding, or misconception about HOW medical assistants can get into these related allied health position once they graduated and joined the job market.
In looking back over the years, based on what I along with my fellow classmates went through, what I have experienced as a medical assisting instructor, and what I have learned through my online work, I realize now, that there always seems to come a point in every MA student's life, where they suddenly realize, that the initial excitement of learning their new skill is wearing off, and reality suddenly hits. Interestingly, one can almost predict this point precisely. It usually happens around three months prior to starting the externship, and then once again upon graduation. Part of these student's worry is the realization that once the course ends they will have to leave the security of the classroom and do something about their career. They dread the thought of having to be "out there" in this big ugly world competing with others in the field grasping every opportunity to climb the ladder of success, whether it is in medical assisting or a related field. This truly can be a frightening and troublesome thought to some, especially if they have to also consider the people around them, their expectations of them, and the heap of student loans that then must be paid back.
However, medical assistant students should not be troubled, nor discouraged. They are indeed entering into a highly rewarding field with MANY MANY opportunities. Those who are serious about their career, and remain focused on their goals will succeed, and only those who get overly frustrated and give up as a result will fail. It's survival of the fittest, not only in the medical assisting field, but everywhere. Everybody wants to get ahead, land more rewarding positions, and take home more pay! It is a given, that new graduates without experience on the job can forget to be hired into closely related, better paying positions advertised in the newspaper right from the start. The better paying jobs, and the willingness of employers hiring a medical assistant into a related, but different job must be earned. It is, however, possible!
One proven way for medical assistants to land jobs in a related allied health positions, such as becoming a medical secretary, medical records technician, medical data assistant, medical billing and coding clerk, medical transcriptionist, phlebotomist, pharmacy aides and technicians, physical therapist assistants, ophthalmology assistant, Licenced Practical Nurse (or LVN), hemodialysis/dialysis technician, nursing assistant, surgical assistant, medical laboratory technologist or technician, medical translator, medical illustrator, scientific writers, military medics, veterinary assistant, dental assistant, EMT, or whatever the goal is, is by actively seeking out avenues of expansion through additional training, taking on higher responsibilities on the job, and continued leaning and education.
Medical assistants whose goal it is to transition into other allied health and medical care related postitions must start by developing a career plan, and refining career goals early on in the game, and then follow through by demonstrating that they are serious about their career. Undoubtedly they must seek every opportunity to learn additional skills, and make many necessary adjustments throughout the course of their working career. They must remain focused, flexible, interested in taking on responsibilities in all areas and skills, especially in those areas that will look good on their work history, that they can put into their resume, and that will give them something they can take with them when they change jobs.
Through hard work, pursuing learning goals, becoming certified, continuing education, and maintaining professional relationships medical assistants can pave their way to transition or cross over into those related other health care jobs that the school has posted, and are advertised in the newspaper. If you are a medical assistant reading this, chances are it is something you already knew! Please feel free to comment.
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