If you have ever wanted to step into the healthcare industry, you might have come across medical assistant as a career.
A Medical Assistant is a healthcare worker that provides support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Their duties involve administrative and clinical tasks.
Medical assistants are generally required to complete a training program, however, this is not necessary, and they also have the opportunity of becoming a medical assistant through on-the-job training.
It is also important to note that Washington is the only state that requires medical assistants to complete a program and obtain certification to legally work. Additionally, some employers also prefer and need medical assistants to hold certifications.
Read on to find out more about what on-the-job training for medical assistants involves and how you can search for such positions.
Also read: CMAA vs CCMA
Does On-the-Job Training For Medical Assistants Exist?
Yes, there is on-the-job training available for medical assistants. The education requirements for medical assistants are typically minimal, only requiring a high school diploma or GED.
Also see: Medical Assistant Educational Requirements
Employers often need to hire additional medical assistants to manage their patient load, but there may be a need for more qualified candidates who have completed training in medical assistant programs or obtained certification.
To address this, employers sometimes opt to hire applicants without prior experience as medical assistants, with the intention of providing them with on-the-job training.
This approach allows employers to train their medical assistants to work in their specific facility and familiarize them with medical assistant terminology.
Also see: Where Can Medical Assistants Work?
On-the-job training offers practical learning opportunities as it provides hands-on experience in the desired workplace.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical assistants is projected to grow by 16% over the next decade, which is significantly faster than the average growth rate for all occupations in the country.
Where to Find On-the-Job Training for Medical Assisting
In the majority of states, becoming a medical assistant does not require any formal prerequisites apart from a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Additionally, individuals aspiring to become medical assistants are not required to complete a medical assisting training program, hold certification, or possess extensive job experience. However, having any of these qualifications can greatly enhance their prospects of being hired.
Also see: How to Become a Medical Assistant
Here are some effective methods for locating positions that provide on-the-job training:
Search job boards for medical assistant jobs that also offer on-the-job training
The simplest method to discover local medical assistant positions that provide on-the-job training is by utilizing job search websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor.
Searching for keywords like “medical assistant on-the-job training” or “medical assistant no experience” usually can get you multiple job listings.
Before applying, it is crucial to thoroughly review the job descriptions. Look for specific phrases in the job titles or descriptions, such as “no experience necessary” or “we will train.”
Additionally, these positions typically require only a “high school diploma or equivalent” as the educational requirement.
Take note of whether the job listings list qualifications as preferences or requirements. For instance, some jobs may consider “medical assistant experience,” “CMA certification,” or “CCMA certification” as preferences, while others mandate them as requirements.
It is also recommended to consider applying for job postings that list medical assistant experience or certification as a preference, particularly when limited on-the-job training opportunities are available.
Job listings on websites like Indeed or Glassdoor are often temporary, so regularly checking for new openings is essential.
Read more on: How to get Medical Assistant jobs with no experience
Contact local clinics and hospitals
Another approach to finding on-the-job training opportunities is by directly contacting hospitals and clinics in your local area.
Private practices or smaller clinics often show more openness toward hiring medical assistants for on-the-job training. You can reach out to them via phone, email, or even by visiting in person.
When contacting them, clearly communicate your interest in working as a medical assistant and inquire about any available positions that offer on-the-job training.
If you possess relevant certifications, such as CPR or BLS or any specific skills, make sure to highlight them during the conversation.
Even if they are unable to offer an on-the-job training position at their facility, they may provide valuable information or connections that could assist you in finding a job in the future.
Also see: Medical Assistant Scope of Practice by State
Consider an externship
If there is a lack of on-the-job training positions in your area, another viable option is to pursue medical assistant externships.
You can find medical assistant externships by searching on job boards or by reaching out to local hospitals and clinics. Typically, externships are short-term and unpaid positions.
Despite being unpaid, participating in an externship can offer valuable hands-on experience and networking opportunities that can enhance your chances of securing a medical assistant job in the future.
Later on, we will delve deeper into what an externship entails and why it can be a worthwhile endeavor.
It is also worthwhile to note that if you choose an online program for your medical assistant training, they mostly offer externship opportunities when you finish your course.
Skills To Develop To Help You Get Jobs with On-the-Job Training
Although these skills or certifications are not usually mandatory for medical assistant positions offering on-the-job training, they are often preferred as they can potentially limit or even eliminate the employer’s training time and make you stand out as an applicant.
Here are some key skills and certifications to consider:
1. CPR certification: While CPR certification may not always be obligatory for medical assistants, many employers prefer it. Completing a CPR certification course typically takes a few hours.
2. Basic Life Support (BLS) certification: BLS is another essential skill for medical assistants. Similar to CPR certification, BLS certification may not be a strict requirement but is often preferred by employers. Completing a BLS course also usually takes a few hours.
3. Phlebotomy certification: Drawing blood is one of the clinical responsibilities of medical assistants, but additional training is required for this task.
The duration of phlebotomy certification programs varies depending on the state and institution. While phlebotomy certification is rarely mandatory for medical assistant positions with on-the-job training, having this certification can significantly set you apart from other applicants.
4. Electronic medical records (EMR): Medical assistants frequently work with EMRs as part of their administrative duties. Having experience with EMR software can be advantageous, although it is not required.
5. Language proficiency (e.g., Spanish): Medical assistants who are fluent in foreign languages such as Spanish have an advantage, particularly when applying to positions serving a Spanish-speaking patient population.
Remember, while these medical assistant skills and certifications are beneficial, they are not typically obligatory for medical assistant positions with on-the-job training.
Typical Salary for Medical Assistants Training on the Job
If you are interested in pursuing a medical assistant role without prior experience, the average pay generally falls within the range of $12 to $19 per hour.
However, the actual compensation can vary based on several factors, including geographical location, level of experience, and the specific employer.
It’s worth noting that certain positions may be labeled as unpaid internships, meaning you will not receive any payment during your internship or training period.
Also read: Certified Medical Assistant Salary
Why You Should Consider a Medical Assistant Externship
A medical assistant externship offers aspiring medical assistants the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the role of a medical assistant.
Unlike on-the-job training, an externship is a temporary position where individuals are not typically expected to perform all the medical assistant job duties or possess all the skills of a regular employee.
During an externship, the majority of your time will be spent observing medical assistants or working under close supervision. In most cases, medical externships are unpaid.
An externship provides valuable networking opportunities and allows you to explore the field of medical assisting. An externship can also open doors to additional opportunities, such as being hired as a medical assistant with on-the-job training.
Here is more on Medical Assistant Externship
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