Getting Your First Job as a Medical Assistant

So, you are a recent graduate of a medical assisting program and are ready to enter the workforce as a new medical assistant (MA). Congratulations! The job search may seem overwhelming at first but there are plenty of resources available to help you navigate the job acquisition process. To help you get started, we have put together some comprehensive tips to help you pursue a career as a medical assistant today:

Get Certified 

With the job market becoming more competitive, especially in the medical field, getting a job as a medical assistant may be more difficult without a degree from an accredited medical assistant training program. To become a certified medical assistant, you must graduate from a medical assisting training program and take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification Exam. Once you have passed, you will be awarded the credential of an American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) CMA. 

Find an Externship, Apprenticeship or Internship

Externships, apprenticeships, and internships are some of the best ways to gain experience in the medical field and establish connections that will help you find a job after graduation. Medical assistant training programs often include externship participation as part of the curriculum. 

  • Establish good relationships with staff members and try to gain as much experience as you can. If you see your externship site as somewhere you would like to pursue a career, be sure to express this interest to your supervisor. Even if externship sites are unable to offer you a job, your colleagues and supervisors will still be some of your best advocates and references during your job search. 
  • Show up eager to learn and try to get as much relevant experience as possible during your externship. 

Be Proactive in Your Job Search

Start your job search as soon as possible. Being proactive in your job search will help you get an idea of what different types of career options are available for medical assistants and help you narrow down your search. 

  • Start by looking for medical assistant jobs online. Job search engines like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are a great place to start. 
  • Search for many different job opportunities. Medical assisting is one of the fastest-growing career tracks in the medical field and offers a wide range of work environment options. During your job search, get creative when thinking of places you may want to work as a medical assistant. From working as a medical assistant in the military to working with elderly adults in a nursing home, to working abroad – there are a variety of workplaces out there in need of a medical assistant just like you!
  • Look for job openings for entry-level medical assistants. Even though you are fresh out of school and don’t have years of experience yet, not to worry. There are plenty of employers out there who are offering positions specifically to entry-level medical assistants looking to gain more experience. 

Make Your Resume Stand Out

Your resume and cover letter are an employer’s first impression of you and how they decide to move forward with an interview or not. 

  • Keep your resume concise and well-organized. Your resume should be one page, accompanied by a cover letter, to give the employer a quick snapshot of your experience, skills, and qualifications. 
  • Include all previous experience with administrative work, clerical work, or clinical work. Even if you don’t have job experience in medical assisting yet, be sure to include any other relevant experience. 
  • Look at the job description you are applying for. Hiring managers will list the key qualities and skills they are looking for in the job posting. Including your skills that match up with the job description will increase your chances of getting an interview. 
  • Clarify your credentials. If you are AAMA certified be sure to include this on your resume. 

Ace the Interview

Once a hiring manager reviews your resume and decides to move forward with an interview, it is time to make your best impression to show you are the best candidate for the job. 

  • Prepare for the interview. Prior to your interview, think of a personal experience that could be applicable to the role you are applying for and prepare some questions to ask the employer.
  • Show up at least 10 minutes early. Showing up early shows initiative, which goes a long way with hiring managers. 
  • Dress appropriately. Always dress for the job you are applying for. When applying for a medical assistant job, business casual is appropriate. 

Woodruff Medical provides job placement assistance to students upon completing coursework. Job placement coordinators can help students with the job search process and provide important tips for resume preparation and interviewing skills. Good luck— it’s time to start your job search and pursue your career as an MA!

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