Doctor training Medical Assistants at externship.
Doctor training Medical Assistants at externship.

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What You Need to Know Before You Go on An Externship

Classroom learning provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to prepare for your career, but an externship will give you the chance to use your education in the real world.  This experience is so valuable that it is required in Medical Assistant program. If you’re interested in gaining real-world experience to prepare you for your chosen career, here’s what you need to know before you go on an externship:

Am I Eligible?

Externships are generally offered as part of your course of study. Before going on an externship, you’ll need to meet certain eligibility requirements.

  • Complete Core Courses: Because externships combine classroom learning with real-world experience, your background knowledge from your core coursework will provide you with the skills needed to be successful in your externship.
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements: For many programs, you must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 2.0 and be on track to complete your program.
  • Possess Necessary Skills: Many academic programs will require you to meet with a career instructor who will determine whether you have the skills necessary to perform the tasks the externship requires.
  • Get Certified: Prior to externship, take the NCCT certification exam.
  • Proof of Necessary Vaccinations and Medical Screenings: If you are working in a medical or clinical setting, you must prove that you have had the Hepatitis B vaccination and have recently passed a tuberculosis screening. Some clinical settings may also require additional vaccinations, so it is important to check with your school’s career services to make sure you meet the immunization requirements.
  • Pass Background Checks and Drug Tests: Some programs will require you to pass a background check and/or a drug test before you can go out on externship.
  • Provide a Current Resume: You may be required to provide an up-to-date resume to your school’s career service department.
  • Complete Student Needs Assessment: You will need to provide a needs assessment to make sure your externship aligns with your career goals.
  • Complete a Non-Disclosure Agreement: Because you will likely be working with sensitive and confidential information, you must complete and sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Have Good Financial Standing: You must be up-to-date with all payments to the college.

How Should I Act in the Workplace?

You should treat your externship just like you would a paid job. You should arrive on time and follow the proper dress code while also being polite and respectful of everyone around you. If your externship is part of your required coursework, you will be evaluated on your professional performance just as you would be graded in the classroom. Working hard and being professional during this experience will positively impact your grade, and it will also help you build contacts who can be valuable resources through all steps of your career. They can even help you with the job search when your degree is complete, so it is important to make a good impression.

How Will I Benefit from an Externship?

By completing an externship, you will experience first-hand what it’s like to work in your chosen field. It may also help you understand the work environment that best suits your preferences. For example, if you are working toward becoming a medical assistant and aren’t sure if you want to work in a hospital or a physician’s office, an externship can give you a glimpse of one. The experience can help you decide the right setting for you.

If you are interested in a career in the healthcare field and want a comprehensive education that combines classroom and experiential learning, Charter College can start you on the path to success. Get Started Today!