If you’ve read our other articles on How To Become A Medical Assistant, you already know that you will be required to do an externship to get your certificate or degree. All medical assistant training programs require the student to undergo requisite hours of medical externship, usually between 160 to 255 hours. Also known as the clinical practicum, it is considered the equivalent of internship during medical school, where students can gain useful clinical experience under the supervision of qualified medical assistants, in the offices or clinics of licensed health practitioners.
The usual requirements of medical assistant externship vary according to the training program. Aside from the typical application letter, resume, transcripts, health certificate, TB test, and immunization record, students may be asked to submit their certificates of training for both first aid and CPR. Furthermore, prerequisite courses must be completed before they can apply for externship. Occasional, pre-externship evaluation must be made before students are assigned their respective posts.
Applicants must also meet technical standards in observation, communication, psychomotor skills, intellectual abilities, and behavior and social attributes, before they are considered eligible for medical externship. Accommodation is given for applicants with disabilities.
The medical assistant externship has the objective of preparing students for entry level medical assistant employment by providing them with actual real life scenarios for the application of their knowledge, skills, behavior and ethics gleaned during the training program. Examples of specific objectives include: empathic and compassionate interaction with patients and their family face to face and via telephone, conduct oneself in a professional manner using appropriate speech, grammar and proper use of medical terminology, ask questions whenever necessary, as well as learning from mistakes, take direction from the supervising medical assistant or other office personnel, display initiative and problem-solving skills when faced with various situations, and proper handling of potentially infectious or bio-hazardous material, practice of proper medical and surgical aseptic techniques.
Essentially, medical externship is a kind of unpaid on-the-job training. Naturally, students will be expected to submit weekly reports, abide by their set schedule promptly, and dress accordingly. Their instructors will grade them according to set criteria. Only upon completion of a CAAHEP & AAMA accredited training program and medical externship can a graduate be eligible to take the certifying exams.