How to Find a Medical Assisting Externship

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants are expected to be among the fastest-growing occupations between 2006 and 2016, with a 35 percent increase. Training programs for medical assistants are offered at trade schools and community colleges across the U.S., and as part of the training, students are required to find and complete a medical assisting externship.

  • Learn the externship requirements. The number of hours you need to complete during your externship, your personal schedule of when you are available to work at an externship and your school's requirements for an externship supervisor are all things you should know before you begin searching for a location to complete an externship. Knowing this information can aid in finding the right facility.

  • Talk to your clinical instructor. Each school maintains a list of clinical locations where students from previous years have done their medical assistant externships. This list is often kept with the clinical instructor, who will be overseeing your externship experience. You can talk to this instructor and obtain the list to see what health care organizations and doctors in your community or area might be willing to take you on.

  • Inquire at doctor's offices. Since the majority of medical assistants work in doctor's offices according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is an important place to start when searching for a medical assisting externship. Start with doctors who are on the list obtained from your instructor, as they may be more receptive to the idea since they've sponsored externships before. However, don't be afraid to contact other doctors not on the list, since they may want a medical assistant but were unaware of the externship program.

  • Ask alumni of the program. If you know of any alumni who have graduated from the medical assistant program, you can ask them what they recommend. They can tell you where they did their medical assistant externship and provide you with insight as to what to expect when you do yours. In addition, if they are currently employed as a medical assistant for a doctor or health care organization, they may be able to help you get an externship at their workplace if one is available.

  • Check with local nonprofits. Some nonprofit organizations run clinics that provide free or reduced health care services to the public. These organizations often provide medical assisting externships, as this helps alleviate the strain they often face from a shortage of nurses and doctors for the clinic.

  • Spread the word through family and friends. Advertising that you are looking for a medical assistant externship can be beneficial to finding one. Family and friends may contact doctors and other professionals from the medical field they know who may be willing to have you complete your externship at their practice.

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