A medical assistant externship could be a great way to learn about the day-to-day duties of medical assisting, while gaining first-hand knowledge and skills that you could apply if you pursue a career in the field.
What Is a Medical Assistant Externship?
An externship is typically set up through schools in order to give students short, practical work experience that may help them develop a competitive edge when they enter the workforce. Some externships are shorter, while others may last an entire semester. If you’re thinking of pursuing a career as a medical assistant, you may want to consider taking part in an externship.
Why Should I Pursue a Medical Assisting Externship?
A medical assisting externship typically involves job shadowing (following and observing a professional during the workday) with an experienced person in the field. You will likely work directly with medical assistants, patients and doctors and get a chance to learn first-hand from these professionals. As such, externships may also be a great way to meet contacts that may be helpful once you graduate. You also may have the option to pursue work in multiple healthcare settings such as clinics, doctor’s offices and hospitals to give you a better sense of the type of area that you would like to specialize in.
A medical assistant externship may also give you an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in school to real life situations, and to help develop your skills. During your externship you may provide different aspects of patient care, perform treatments such as taking blood, and help doctors with procedures. You may also greet patients and collect information, coordinate patient care with other healthcare providers, and explain medications or treatments to patients. And the potential benefit to taking part in a medical assisting externship is that when you are interviewing or applying for jobs, your externship could count as experience in the field.
What Are Some Medical Assisting Externship Opportunities?
Now that we’ve explained what medical assisting externships are and why they may be beneficial, let’s look at some specific externship opportunities from our sponsored schools that you may want to consider applying for while you’re in school.
Medical Assistant Fellowship Program[i]
This is an advancement externship program from the Community Health Network, providing 300 hours of extensive training during an eight-to-ten week period. Participants will rotate between physician offices and urgent care settings to develop valuable practical clinical experience. To qualify, students will be interviewed and they must be: actively pursuing a degree from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited MA program in which they have completed all prerequisite course; be approaching the final phase of their program; and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Medical Assistant Externship and Evaluation[ii]
This externship course from Kaplan University requires 160 nonpaid hours of clinical and administrative experience in an approved healthcare setting. Students will be evaluated on their competencies performance, including a certification exam at the end. Required prerequisites include that you be in your last term of studies and that you’ve completed the following courses: HS 101, HS 210, HS 220 and MA 270.
Medical Assisting Clinical Externship[iii]
This externship is through Rasmussen College and eligible students will complete 240 hours of medical assisting training in a physician’s office or medical center.[iv] Students will perform medical assisting job duties in administrative and clinical areas. Some of the requirements include: completion of a series of series of Hepatitis B immunizations; completion of a 2-Step Mantoux screening test within 6 months of starting externship; completion of all immunizations or verifications of immunity required by program and site; and successful completion of a background check.
Medical Assistant Student Externship[v]
Offered via Vanderbilt University Medical Center, this externship allows students to practice their patient care skills in a clinical setting. To qualify, students must be in the last quarter or semester of their program and apply through their college. Each externship length is based on college requirements and can vary from 160-180 hours and 10-12 weeks on site.
Medical Assistant Externship[vi]
Offered through the University of Utah Health Care (UUHC), students must meet the following requirements for this externship: show proof of successful drug screen; provide proof of successful criminal background check; provide proof of immunizations; have familiarity with HIPPA and information on patient safety; and provide proof of current BLS certification.
Clinical Externship Placement[vii]
Offered via the Bay Area Medical Academy, students are chosen and placed at various healthcare facilities through a rigorous evaluation and interview process that considers class ranking, top scores on certification exams, and practical skills.[viii] Requirements include: an updated resume; immunization records; CPR certification; passing a Medical Assistant course; passing the final clinical skills evaluation from your Medical Assistant instructor; passing the NCCT National Exam for Phlebotomy Technician and Medical Assistant; passing a drug screening; and passing a criminal background check.