Have you ever considered being a medical assistant? It’s a good job for someone who is looking to get experience in the medical industry. But before you apply, it might be good to know what to expect from this job.
We’ll talk about things involved with an internship as a medical assistant, how much money they make on average, and tips for success.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Medical Assistant?
- What Is A Medical Assistant Internship?
- Finding An Internship
- What Is The Best Place To Intern As A Medical Assistant?
- What Will You Learn Through Your Medical Assisting Internship?
- Professional Considerations
- Reference Letters
- The Best Paying States for Medical Assistant Internship
What Is A Medical Assistant?
A medical assistant helps doctors by providing support services within their office or clinic setting during clinical rotations. Their primary responsibility in a healthcare setting is to perform clinical and administrative tasks. They assist physicians, allowing them to devote more time to patient care.
They are responsible for various administrative, clerical, and clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, filing records, and scheduling patient appointments. Other duties include explaining treatment procedures to patients, interacting with them, and collecting laboratory specimens such as blood and tissue.
Compassion, ability to work well with people, and adaptability are desirable qualities for a medical assistant.
What Is A Medical Assistant Internship?
Whether leading to a diploma or an associate degree, every medical assisting curriculum includes an internship in an ambulatory health care setting. Internships are also known as practicums.
You’re getting ready to work in a demanding field, and spending time in a learning environment that mirrors the pressures you’ll face as a professional is a crucial part of learning how to perform.
Your internship will teach you time management and interpersonal skills, which are crucial in the health care delivery setting, in addition to administrative and clinical attributes.
A medical assistant intern can be paid for their work, but the amount depends entirely on the medical facility in which they work. A medical assistant intern is typically paid around 14 USD/hour on average, and the tenure is typically less than one year. Throughout the experience, you will be supervised, even as you gain competence in your duties.
You should be able to demonstrate administrative and clinical competencies at the end of your internship, such as patient charting, making patient appointments, taking vital signs, and blood draws.
Finding An Internship
Internships are required for most campus-based medical assisting programs, whether in vocational/technical schools or junior or community colleges.
Clinical instructors have developed relationships with local ambulatory care providers. They will place you in one of these facilities based on your qualifications and what your instructor perceives as your learning needs. Your instructors will select a clinical placement for you that will provide consistent learning opportunities while also exposing you to a broad array of different types of health care experiences.
Online medical assisting education programs, on the other hand, may require you to find your internship. Even if your online education provider offers assistance with internship placement, you may be better off being proactive in this area. After all, online education placement coordinators may not have the most up-to-date information on the best places for you to complete your required competencies.
However, your education placement coordinator is still the best place to start. You can inquire for a list of local physician offices and other healthcare providers who have previously placed interns. Inquire with family members and friends who work in the medical field to see if they can make any recommendations. Networking is an excellent resource in this situation.
You can also make direct contact with the ambulatory health care settings in your area. Find out their names by contacting a health care referral service. Contact these medical facilities to find out which ones employ medical assistants. These are the places where you’ll have the best chance of getting an internship.
You will most likely be working under the supervision of medical assistants currently employed there if there isn’t an onsite clinical teacher.
Once your internship application is accepted, your school and the intern agency will create an internship agreement. You will be in charge of signing this contract and meeting its contractual responsibilities. A criminal background check will be required of you, and you will be obliged to order and pay for it. They may also subject you to a drug test. Both background checks and drug testing may cost you around $50.
What Is The Best Place To Intern As A Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants are generalists with abilities tailored to the demands of the healthcare setting in which they work. Choose the clinical setting for your internship that best fits your long-term professional ambitions.
- Hospitals, Urgent Care Facilities, And Physicians Offices: These are all places where you can get medical help. Medical assistants work in all three of these settings, performing both clinical and administrative tasks.
Greeting patients, answering phones, and updating patient charts are some of the administrative hospital tasks. Other clinical tasks include cleaning examination rooms, taking vital signs, supporting patients in getting ready for examinations, and assisting physicians during patient examinations.
- Emergency Rooms: In emergency rooms, medical assistants – also known as emergency room technicians – will serve as receptionists, assisting in the registration of patients as they arrive. In emergency rooms, medical assistants help with triage and recognize life-threatening situations and notify the appropriate staff.
Medical assistants are also involved in maintaining supplies and cleaning examination rooms. Under the direct supervision of registered nurses, they will provide patient care and procedures.
What Will You Learn Through Your Medical Assisting Internship?
As a medical assistant intern, you’ll work in a variety of capacities under the supervision of a regular staff member, including:
- Administrative: You may be in charge of basic receptionist tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and taking messages for doctors and nurses. You may also be taught about insurance verification, bill payment, and supply purchases. Because the majority of these activities are now completed online, you’ll require some basic computer skills.
Cleaning and stocking examination rooms and lab spaces may also be your responsibility. Several federal rules apply to cleaning lab facilities that you will need to be aware of.
- Clinical: As a medical assistant intern, one of your main responsibilities will be to prepare patients for examinations. You may be asked to collect blood and urine samples and give injectable drugs in some circumstances.
You’ll need to know how to take and record the patient’s temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration rate, as well as explain the procedures the doctor will be performing.
During your clinical internship, you may or may not be paid. On the other hand, your medical assistant internship is precisely like a regular job in every aspect.
Depending on how your internship placement schedules staff, you will be required to work 32 or 40 hours per week, and you must arrive on time.
You’ll be expected to dress professionally, which means scrubs and comfortable, closed-toed shoes in your case. The majority of places will expect you to have your own stethoscope.
If you become unwell or need to miss a day for any other reason, notify your internship location as soon as possible.
They consider you to be one of their employees, and if you are unable to come in, they will need to find a substitute. You should never call in sick unless you are truly ill.
Your internship will be your first professional experience as a medical assistant; therefore, making a good first impression is crucial.
After their internships, many medical assistant interns are given positions. Even if a job is not available, your superiors will be pleased to send you a reference letter to assist you find another employment if you have done a good job.
Of course, a reference letter is more than simply a piece of paper. It means that the experts who worked with you during your internship are confident enough in your drive and ability to risk their professional reputations to advocate for you.
As part of their procedures and protocols, certain agencies have reference policies. Before you ask, acquaint yourself with any existing policies at your agency.
After your clinical experience, make sure to leave copies of your resume with your internship supervisor or the office manager. They would be pleased to help you find a wonderful career opportunity if you made a good impression during your internship.
The Best-Paying States for Medical Assistant Internship
In line with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a medical assistant intern is $14.05 per hour. The highest paying cities are as follows:
- Wellesley, MA – $18.44 per hour
- New York, NY – $16.81 per hour
- Washington, DC – $14.44 per hour
- Houston, TX – $13.83 per hour
- Chicago, IL – $13.52 per hour
The median salary for a full-time medical assistant is $35,720 annually. The states and districts with the highest average salary for Medical Assistants are as follows:
- Alaska – $45,630
- District of Columbia – $44,530
- Washington – $43,760
- Massachusetts – $41,780
- Minnesota – $41,710
If you’re willing to make that effort and succeed at your position, you can earn top dollar. However, suppose money isn’t your main goal but instead just landing yourself a great gig where you’ll be happy doing meaningful work. In that case, there’s plenty of room for advancement when moving from an entry-level position into more advanced ones, such as becoming a clinical medical assistant or physician’s assistant.