From Classroom to Career: Tips for Landing Your First Medical Assistant Job

Posted On April 28,2023

After completing your medical assistant training and getting your certification, it’s time to put that training to use and get your first job as a medical assistant. Beginning a new career is a big step, and the preparation you put into your first job will determine your success.

Medical assistant discussing medication instructions with a patient.

Preparing for the Job Search

Writing a resume – especially when you are beginning a new career – can be intimidating. But after completing your training program, you will have the right information to share with potential employers. In your resume, highlight the program you completed. Completing a comprehensive, accredited medical assistant training program demonstrates that you have the right training for any medical assisting position. A quality program will include hands-on training, and you can include that as relevant experience. In your cover letter, identify the skills that make a great medical assistant and highlight those that you possess, such as patient etiquette, proficiency with medical records software, and the administrative, clinical, and soft skills you can use in your new position.

Searching for Job Opportunities

When you look for your first position as a medical assistant, remember that even new medical assistants will qualify for most of the job openings, so apply for all the positions you are interested in, even if you don’t think you have enough experience. Employers are often willing to give new medical assistants the opportunity, especially with an excellent resume, relevant skills, and clinical experience. Job boards and employment websites are a good place to start, but medical assistants can also leverage their network from the training program and professional organizations to find potential positions. It’s also well worth contacting local medical facilities and clinics directly to inquire about openings. There are many opportunities out there for qualified medical assistants.

Nailing the Job Interview

When you are called for an interview, the first step is to thoroughly research the facility and position so you are as prepared as possible. Arriving on time – or early! – and dressing professionally is also important. Be ready to discuss the skills and any relevant experience on your resume. There are some questions that are very common, so preparing some responses in advance can help you feel ready. Some include:

  • “Tell me about yourself”

Keep your answer focused on your education and experience, with an added focus on why you’re interested in medical assisting.

  • “What are your strengths?”

Discuss the skills you feel most confident with – whether they are clinical or soft skills – and how they are a good match for the position. For example, you might highlight your strong organizational skills or your compassionate personality.

  • “What are your weaknesses?”

Interviewers expect to hear a strength disguised as a weakness, but this can be a great place to highlight an area you hope to grow in. 

  • “Why are you interested in this position?”

This is where your research comes in handy. If the clinic has a lot of pediatric patients, you can highlight your interest in working with children. Familiarize yourself with the mission and values of the clinic. 

Tips for Success on the Job

Once you’ve landed your first job as a medical assistant, your focus can shift to making yourself successful. To become a successful medical assistant, prioritizing patient care and safety is the right first step. Many medical assistants find themselves triaging phone calls, managing the schedule of a busy practice, and greeting and rooming patients. It’s important to be organized, thorough, professional, and compassionate as you multitask throughout your workday. Unexpected situations are common in healthcare, and a good medical assistant will be able to adapt. As you begin a new job, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. Focus on building strong relationships with your co-workers and supervisors, as medical assistants are part of a team. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be open to feedback.

Start your CMA

If you’ve put the time into becoming a medical assistant and getting your certification, put that same effort into your first position as a medical assistant. There is plenty of room for growth, and your first job is just the beginning of a great career. To learn more about how to become a medical assistant, contact Athena Career Academy to schedule a tour.