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How to become a Medical Assistant

medical assistant schoolsMedical assistant schools are here to help you start a career

Are you thinking about a career in medical assisting? To get started, you might want to look into medical assistant schools and what they have to offer. Schools that offer training in this field are able to help students develop the knowledge and clinical skills they need to succeed in this career.

What are the reasons people choose this career path? Some people choose this field because they enjoy helping others. They want a job where they can interact with patients and work in a healthcare environment. Others use this position as a stepping stone to get started in the healthcare industry and then obtain additional training for other positions. Whatever your plan, here are some of the steps toward starting this important career:

Research the medical assistant schools in your area
To make sure that you are selecting the best educational plan for yourself, it is a good idea to research the schools in your area. Training for this job can be offered at community colleges, private career training schools, and other educational institutions. When you find some possible schools, call them to arrange for a tour. Here are some of the things you might want to ask yourself when doing your research:

  • Is the location close enough to home that I will always attend classes?
  • Is the facility modern with up-to-date clean facilities?
  • Is the school accredited?
  • How long is the program, and what will be expected of me?
  • Does the program have an externship program where I will learn skills in a job-like setting?
  • Does the school have a high job placement rate for students after graduation?
  • Was the tour presented in a professional manner?

Look into financial aid
Many people find that they need financial aid in order to afford secondary education. There are many options for financial aid, depending on your eligibility. The first place most students start to explore is the Federal Student Aid program. By completing a FAFSA form, you can determine if you are eligible for financial aid under this program.

In addition to the Federal Student Aid program, there may be other options such as obtaining a direct loan. You might want to visit the website of the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) and see if a loan might be the best option for you. Other possibilities include the GI Bill®, if you are a veteran, or taxpayer credits.  In addition, your state might have financial aid programs as well. It is worth looking into all of the possibilities to help fund your education.

Commit to a regular course of study
It is important to remember that no matter how good your school is, a school can only help you if you are willing to help yourself. In order to get the most out of any educational program, it is important that you commit yourself to taking the work seriously, attending all classes, doing all homework, and preparing for exams. If you find yourself struggling, don’t give up! See if your school offers extra tutoring, or talk to your instructor about how you can improve your understanding of the classes. Your instructors want you to succeed and are there to help.

Treat your externship like your first job
Many medical assistant schools will place you in an externship program for about 6 to 8 weeks before graduation. This is an excellent opportunity to use your new skills on the job. It is important that you treat your externship like a real job. Be sure to arrive on time, treat others respectfully, dress and act professionally, and act responsibly. It is okay to ask questions if you don’t know how to do something, because you want to be sure you are doing your tasks correctly. And remember, the externship is an experience that you can include on your resume. While at your externship, you can network with other professionals, meet higher level administrators, and talk with mentors who could serve as references for your resume.

Begin a targeted job search through Career Services
Most career-focused schools have a Career Services department to help you begin your job search. The advisors can help you craft a strong resume and cover letter, and may even help you with interview skills. And perhaps most importantly, they may have the contacts in local healthcare facilities that can help you find out about job opportunities that best fit your skills and interests. Getting support and recommendations from a Career Services department can help to make your resume stand out from the crowd. So remember, be sure to take advantage of the services that the Career Services advisors provide.

If this is something you are considering, why not start today? Most training programs take less than one year to complete, so just think, next year at this time, you could be starting a new career!

The Harris School of Business offers a range of career-focused training programs across its eight campuses, including medical assistant programs, dental assistant training, medical billing courses, massage therapy courses, and more. To find out more, visit our home page at www.harrisschool.edu.


GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

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