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
> doesn’t 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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Anonymous said...

I am a recent graduate of Bryman College (Jan 2005). Once I graduated, they seemed to not have any interest in assisting me to locate work. If I required any photocopies of documents (certs, reveiws, ect..) they would charge $7.00 ea.. After paying almost $12000 in tuition, they still want to charge for regular items like copy paper. On the positive side, I graduated @ top 1% of the entire school. Yet, a job that pays well is hard to find. Good luck to all graduates, hope your outcome is what you want/deserve.

Anonymous said...

I graduated over a year ago and struggled with finding a job. I had been a Pharmacy Tech for about 3 years before school but the transition from that to Medical Assistant was really hard for me. Nobody wanted someone right out of school. I searched for about 8 or 9 months, gave up, and then tried again. Finally after a year and 5 months, I have found a job as an entry level Medical Assistant. I decided to take the job even though I took a huge pay cut from Pharmacy work, but at least I can build experience. I am trying to look at it like this: Its one more step under my wing and closer to my goal. Good Luck to all you MA Graduates and keep trying.

Anonymous said...

well, my story is a little different. I did my externship in a Dialysis clinic where i was hired and worked for 9 and a half yrs until i was let go for a mistake that somoone else made but was blamed on me. Now, i am out in the post patient care tech world and looking for work, every job i have applied for either wants someone that has medical office experience, or they tell me i am over qualified. I am determined that someone will recognize that i DO have alot of clinical experience( 9 and a half yrs is nothing to sneeze at) and be willing to hire me.. i also never became certified, a mistake i am now realizing was a Big one! so, i am going to get certified. Anyone who is just graduating, get certified now!! dont be like me and think ohh i probably wont even need to be certified cause i found out the hard way you will!

BlackGirl said...

I graduated four months ago and did have an an interview and a callback, but I did neither. I guess I'm a little hesitant and doubting my skill. I think I need more training first. I did great on my externship and felt they would have hired me if I wasn't moving. But now I haven't done any of that work in 4 months and I'm rusty. What do you suggest I could do?

rose said...

I'm leaving this message for the purpose of helping me in my current situation. I'm a certified medical assistant (now for years) I've had wonderful jobs in dermatology. In some, I've been able to inject patients with the lido and epi. Now, I'm being asked from a new and current employer to research the limits of my certification. Can some one tell me where online I can research the limitations of my certification. My employer wants it from a reputable source. Am I - or - not allowed to inject lido and epi to a patient? what is the answer?

Anonymous said...

go to AAMA the American Association of Medical Assistants they offer membership and offer certifications that say you have pass the state certified medical assistant exam

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any advise for getting back into the medical assisting field. I graduated with an associate degree in medical assisting in 2000 and have only worked on and off again due to health problems and wanting to be home with my babies. My last job ended at the end 2007 and had lasted one year. Then I temped in 2009 for six months. Both ended due to surgeries but those health issues are over. I am being rejected and rejected and rejected since November of '09. I have only earned two interviews and neither called back. I don't know what to do but I do know that I need a job very badly, and my resume is one hundred times devoted to the medical field as I worked as an EMT too back in the 90's. I have only done some customer service work in 2003. Please, if anyone has any ideas, let me know.

deanthony18 said...

Hi this post is for rose i would you check your states nursing site and find out what a cma can and cant do because it vearys from state to state i know here in Texas where i live we can pretty much do anything an LVN can do and even some basic rn duties and it sounds like to me that your dealing with a bias RN/Lvn who is trying to rip you apart simply because they feel that because they know the history of how to draw blood that makes them better than you also your employer should already have that defined i suggest that while you look that up you also look for another job thats just my opinion ;)

Anonymous said...

I graduated from a community college with an Applied Science Associates degree in Medical Assisting. It took me about 2.5 years including my extern hours. Something that was instrumental in me finding a job straight after school was a program called the Medical Assisting Fellowship program through a local hospital. What I appreciated about that program was after the 300 hour externship you were more likely to get hired on than a MA who never worked for the hospital, but had more experience. I work with a Geriatrician, a Nurse Practitioner, and a LCSW who treat me with the utmost respect. They always tell me I'm a BIG and IMPORTANT part of the team. So, for those who are weary about pursuing this medical avenue, just give it a shot. Oh yeah, prayer wouldn't hurt either... And if you want respect, then you have to give respect. Make sure whoever you work for, treats you as a human FIRST! Another helpful tip, everybody has their bad days. It comes with the territory. Other than that, just keep ya head up, get that degree, and make that money! Best wishes...L.Willi

Anonymous said...

For Rose: Here in Indian, a medical assistant works under the doctors license and can do anything the doctors allows the MA to do. Right after I got out of school, I worked in a very busy family practice. Their I pulled stitches, assisted during vasectomies, colonoscopies, EGDs, etc. Started IVs, drew and injected drugs into the IV's. In a hospital setting, I would have never been allowed to do any of these things.