Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical duties in healthcare locations like hospitals and doctor’s rooms. You will also find them in outpatient clinics, and many other medical facilities. While most medical assistants have some form of post-secondary education like certificates or diplomas, others start in the role with a high school diploma or equivalent.
These medical assistants make use of on-the-job training to prepare them to write certification exams later in their careers. With positions in healthcare on the rise, many graduates and school leavers are turning to the health sector to build careers.
With the employment opportunities of medical assistants expected to rise by 16% in the decade that started in 2021, it seems a wise choice of career path. This means that over 120,000 annual medical assistant job openings are expected through to 2031.
In this guide, we will assist you on how best to go about securing medical assistant employment.
Step 1: Determine Your Qualifications And Requirements
A medical assistant requires a minimum education of a high school diploma or equivalent. It is better to have a degree or form of post-secondary medical assistant certification to enhance your chances of employment. You should also be skilled in time management, multitasking, teamwork, and communication. It also helps if you have a calling for patient care.
You can receive training through one of the many medical assistant programs available online or through a medical assisting school in your area.
Successfully completing such a course will provide insight into your suitability and prepare you to sit an exam to become a certified medical assistant
Another way of assessing and growing your skills is by securing a medical assistant internship at one of the healthcare locations where medical assistants work, like a hospital or outpatient center. This also provides you the chance to network with other medical assistants and healthcare professionals – a valuable form of growing your contacts and knowledge.
Step 2: Research Potential Employers
Before you start looking for medical assistant jobs, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for in a position. Research the salary you can expect, the role you’ll be filling, and any potential expenses. Once you’ve created this outline you can start looking for potential employers.
An obvious starting point when looking for possible employers are local healthcare centers where medical assistants work. List the hospitals and doctors in your vicinity, along with any clinics and other facilities. From there you can start visiting company websites and social media pages to see if they’re advertising any vacancies.
Next, move on to the job postings from job sites advertising in your area. Look carefully at the adverts you find, noting whether they come from agencies or from the healthcare facilities themselves.
Pay attention to the companies who have posted relevant jobs. Try to identify their values and also get an idea of their work culture. Also, make notes of any specific job requirements for each posting, and how well these fit with your capabilities and skills.
Step 3: Prepare An Outstanding Application
Tips on creating a compelling resume
- Format in an easy-to-read, concise manner. Include bullet points where possible.
- Place your contact information in a visible position.
- Include your academic history, achievements, and promotions.
- Note your language and computer skills.
- Add memberships to any career-related organizations.
- Highlight any professional volunteer work or internships.
- Carry out a spelling and grammar check once you’re finished.
How to write a cover letter that stands out
- Research the company you are applying to. Make notes of important points which will improve your letter.
- Open with why you find the company and position appealing.
- Stress the value you will bring to the position.
- Be enthusiastic and authentic. Don’t overdo things.
- Keep it short.
- Ask friends and relatives for their impressions afterward.
Preparing a portfolio of work or sample projects
- Include the relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments that you are proud of.
- Connect the above to your future aims and goals, providing proof of how they fit into these.
- Provide references to back up the statements you have made.
- Highlight the insights you gained from your experiences and how you’ve learned from them.
- Connect these factors to the application you’re making and the company you’re applying to.
Include references and recommendation letters
- Include positive references from employers, supervisors, or managers.
- Add any references you have from business contacts or co-workers.
- Also, include good references from any instructors or teachers.
- For any character references, be sure to clearly state your relationship with your reference.
Step 4: Ace The Interview
Preparing for the interview
The prospect of a medical assistant interview is often a daunting task. With in-depth preparation, the task becomes a lot easier. Here are some points to consider when preparing:
- Understand the job description.
- Know the role of a medical assistant and why you’re qualified.
- Know the company you’re applying to intimately, including its culture and values.
- Study up on common interview questions and how to respond to them.
Common interview questions and how to answer them
Whether you’re being interviewed as one of many medical assistants or for any other job, there are certain questions that always seem to come up. Here are three common ones and how you might respond:
- “Why do you want to work here?” – The best answer is to praise the company standards and culture, while also emphasizing your passion for medical assisting.
- “What interests you about this role?” – This is a chance for you to be enthused about your skills and passion, and why the role suits you.
- “What are your greatest strengths?” – Mention both your technical skills and soft skills that can be directly applied to the role you’re applying for.
Dressing for success
It is better to be safe than sorry when dressing for interviews. Rather dress formally to give a good impression than arrive in jeans and give a negative one. The interviewer will be impressed if you’re dressed in a way that exudes success and confidence.
If you’re already a certified clinical medical assistant, for example, this will portray how seriously you approach matters and, in all likelihood, your job.
Body language and nonverbal communication
How you greet, your body posture, and what you do with your hands are all important parts of a job interview. You want to give off an impression of confidence so maintain eye contact, be expressive with your hands, and sit straight up with an open posture. Show that you deserve to be there and want to build a career as a registered medical assistant.
Following up after the interview
It is safe to wait at least a week before following up on an interview. Some positions remain open for a number of weeks after the interview is over, so follow your interview with a cordial email to the recruiter on a weekly basis, unless the response you receive indicates you shouldn’t.
Step 5: Negotiate A Job Offer
Understanding the job offer and compensation package
It is important to understand the job schedule and everything expected of you in the role of any medical assistant jobs. If these details are not included, request a job description from the hiring manager.
Look at the details of remuneration – how much it is, how often it is paid, and what the deductions are. If you have any queries, contact the hiring manager and discuss with them before signing your employment contract.
Negotiation tips and strategies
Should you decide to negotiate any job offer you receive, express your gratitude for the offer before entering any negotiation. When making a counteroffer, be specific and base the amount on facts, potentially relating to market rates of other medical assistant jobs. Be confident but not arrogant with your counteroffer.
Contract and job offer review
Once you receive your contract, don’t be afraid to let somebody else knowledgeable look over the contract. The advice can either be accepted or rejected and doesn’t cost anything unless you’ve decided to consult a lawyer. Once you’ve decided to accept the contract and position, sign the documentation and return it to your new employer as soon as you can.
When looking for a list of medical assistant jobs it’s important to follow steps that simplify the process. Assess your abilities and qualifications before you research potential employers, and build your resume and your portfolio. Once you’ve successfully secured an interview, remember to dress appropriately and behave in a manner that suits the position.
Medical assistant jobs are plentiful, even if you only possess a high school diploma. Think about signing up for a medical assistant program if this is the case though – in that way you’ll enhance your career prospects and be more versed in medical terminology, medical records, and the like. You’re likely to ace that interview afterward!
Where are most medical assistants employed?
Most medical assistants work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient clinics.
Where do medical assistants get paid the most?
Medical assistants in Washington D.C. and Alaska are paid the most in the United States, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is a medical assistant job worth it?
Yes, a medical assistant job is worth it if you have an interest in healthcare and patient care in general. You will become versed in medical terminology and keeping medical records while learning the ins and outs of a medical office and clinical environment.