Finding a Medical Assisting Job With No Experience

It is not required at this time for MA to complete a medical assisting training course to work in the field. Although some employers prefer to hire those with experience, MA without experience can also find jobs within the industry.

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Obtain Credentials

An individual must obtain the necessary credentials, determined by the state, to be employed as a MA. Typically a high school diploma, or GED equivalent, is required to be considered for hire as a medical assistant. The successful completion of an accredited medical assisting program is helpful, but not required by most states. Some employers may require the MA possess a current CPR card. CPR courses are available through organizations such as the AHA (American Heart Association) or Red Cross. Some employers can require BLS, basic life support, certification as well. This type of course can be found locally by contacting schools that offer medical assisting, emergency medical technician or other allied health programs. They can also be found on-line.

Complete an Externship

To gain clinical experience, a non-experienced MA may choose to participate in a MA externship, or job-shadowing program. A MA externship gives individuals lacking work experience the opportunity to see what it is like to work as a MA. They follow experienced MA around the job site and learn about the skills needed to work as a successful medical assistant. An externship in medical assisting can be arranged by contacting local physician practices, clinics and hospitals to find out if their facility accommodates inexperienced individuals who would like to participate in an externship.

Entry Level Position

An individual who has the desire, but lacks the experience necessary by an employer, to work as a MA may choose to enter the company at an entry level position with an option for advancement. Some employers who insist their medical assistants have a specific amount of work experience will hire those lacking experience for entry-level positions. These positions include working in the front of the office, where mostly clerical duties are performed, or as an assistant to experienced MA in the back where patient care and treatment occurs. After working at the entry-level position for a certain amount of time determined by the employer, the employer may provide the employee with the opportunity to advance a medical assistant position. At this time, the employer may choose to send the employee to complete a MA training program or provide on-the-job training.


In areas where participating in a medical assisting externship is not an option, an individual lacking MA experience may choose to volunteer with a local physician’s practice, hospital or clinic that utilizes medical assistants. The individual can contact local health care facilities to see if they could volunteer in their establishment. Volunteers may not be permitted to perform actual patient care or assist physicians directly however, they will be allowed to observe and take notes on how things are done.

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Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Article Written by Rachel Dennis

Rachel Dennis works as both a professional writer and health care provider. She has been a licensed health care provider since 1998, with work experience as a medical assistant, certified nursing assistant and emergency medical technician. She has been writing since 1994 and has been published both on-line and in print.

31 Responses to “Finding a Medical Assisting Job With No Experience”
  1. I am an medical assistant but never used my skills as an MA would love to work as an MA if any Dr. office would give me the opportunity to use my skills. I don’t mind shadowing another MA, I just want to get the exprience needed to work in a office/clinic an be a great MA.

    Thanks, Very Much

    Teresa Cruz

    • Patricia Postell says:

      I agree with you and I would like to know if you were able to solve this problem. I graduated in 2014 and I am still not able to get my feet wet. I am back in school online for medical billing and coding through UMA.

      • Jamje says:

        I’m having the same issue. Everyone wants someone with experience yet no one wants to give me an opportunity to gain experience.

        • Brenda says:

          I know exactly how you feel because I graduated from Everest Institute in Austin, Texas under their Medical Assistant Program with all A-Honor Roll, 4.0 GPA, and Certified Medical Assistant after 8 months training at this school companies are refusing to hire and give me a chance. It has become very frustrating because I am a single mom of 1 and I worked my ass off staying up late studying and completing assignments, memorizing medical terminology, etc… yet the closest I can get is an interview, but each and every time I get turned down for every CMA position I’ve applied since 2011 which was when I graduated from Everest. Now I’ve been applying to anything and everything and rewriting my resume multiple times, but still no employment.
          So a couple of years ago I decided to go back to school by taking online college courses to earn my associates or bachelors in Healthcare Administration but that didn’t work out because of I had to withdraw few days early from the colleges due to bad weather knocked out my internet connection. And now I am trying to get in to ACC to earn an certificate in Phlebotomy so I can at least get hired by any healthcare facility to support my child, because one of their advisors told me I wasn’t smart enough to get accepted into their Nursing Program to become a Registered Nurse because of my high school transcript, which is what I really want to study and become.

          • Ozzy says:

            Damn, that really sucks Brenda. I hope you have found something by now. Im from Austin too and Ive just enrolled in the medical assist program at A.C.C. I hope it works out. Sounds like its rough out there. Any advice?

    • gloria says:

      I can attest y these comments l am a Certified Medical Assistant and m unable to find a job in that field. The interviews are coming but they never call back right now you have to be able to speak another language and l think that’s unfair to us American citizens. They also discriminate because of age here in New Jersey

      • Jessi says:

        I agree with both of you., It seems crappy behind 2 week/4 week CNA’s getting jobs more than we are and we have more experience, degrees, certifications, months and years than them. I don’t understand what the heck is going on. One place suggested for me to take CNA Training just so I can work with them. Are they crazy! I refuse to sacrifice months, years of education EKG Class, Phlebotomy Class, Clinical Medical Class and Patient Care Class just to get a job some damn CNA’s get and trained what we do without knowing crap!

        I don;t understand these places. Maybe that’s why alot of their positions sit, even staffing agencies. This is crazy!

        • Kjc says:

          Not to be rude or disrespectful towards your frustration but I am a CNA that transitioned to CCMA but maybe your not getting a job because of your negativity as a CNA you will get the best direct patient care experience dealing with all kinds of doctors supporting your nurses and learning to deal with situations and as CNA it got my foot at the door of hospitals with kaiser permanente and stanford hosp. and as you look down on CNA’s not only im getting my medical experience a CNA at a hospital gets paid $30 per hr and because of my cna experience I was able to secure a job as a medical assistant and i was able to pick and choose the unit where I wanna work for and each interview I had commended me or wanted to have because they know that as a cna I can deal with difficult situations. Especially now a days you can get all the certifications and training for a job but if you dont have any experience you better have a good attitude and pray really hard to get a job where u want to be … just saying !!!!!!

    • Loise P. says:

      I am one of the CCMA that been waiting for two years in Oct. 2018. I believe that we should of been warned about if you don’t have that 1-3 healthcare experience that we are wasting our time and that we could of chosen a different career path. We invest all this money in these school and no guidance or strong career advisor as they claim they were when we signed up about how we can get a job placement within a few week after or before graduating was a total lie. I felt like I was the only one that was going through this until I started doing research recently. I also feel like they whether have someone that not certified then someone that dedicated they time and miss out on family event so they can get educated. If they want to be like that then since we certified we should have the same opportunity. NHA should do some changing because this is just crazy and it me feel like I am not good enough and I graduated with Honor. So now I am scared to invest another school became it seem like I will get screwed over again.

    • Troy G says:

      I have been looking for a Medical Assistant job since I received my certification RMA (AMT) (Feb 2017). I have applied for over 200 Medical Assistant positions. What does it take to get a Medical Assistant position? I have had my resume/cover letter reviewed by resume writer. I still have had no luck.

  2. Megan Hashbarger says:

    I am a recent graduate of an MA program that is accredited. I did an externship for six weeks and have taken the AAMA exam to become certified. I am still running into issues with them wanting a bunch of experience. How can I find a job within my career path that will help me be the best MA possible?

  3. jeanett morones says:

    I graduated last year as a certified medical assistant but have no expierence other then externship. I feel like its unfair not to have the chance to work in the doctors office without expierence! Everyone should be given a chance to learn alot more then what they’ve learned in school..,

    • Brenda says:

      I definitely agree with you Michelle. I don’t think its fair for these companies to judge anyone on their lack of experience no matter how much training they have accomplished. I don’t understand their way of thinking and judging
      me simply because of my lack of hands on work experience and little training from a school I worked so hard to pass all classes and graduate with all A’s and a 4.0 GPA. I mean all everyone is asking for is the chance and opportunity to show the skills and training that each of us have earn and accomplished the schools we have attended.

  4. Michael says:

    I am a graduate from an accredited MA school with a 3.89 GPA; got extern experience/performed extremely well and did some temp. work as an MA—what a waste of time and money! The maintenance guys where I did my temp work get paid $1 and hour more than the MAs do….only they didn’t have to spend over $10,000 and go to school to get a job. I went back to doing what I did before becoming an MA…working in a fishing shop and it pays more than the MA temp job I did. With ALL of my classmates whom I’ve spoken to, it’s the same story: either no job or very, very low-paying jobs. In contrast to what you’re told, Medical Assistants ARE NOT given the same respect as an LPN. For anyone out there who is considering reading becoming an MA and is reading this post….I would really encourage you to think twice about it. You will be much better off going to Nursing School.

  5. lisa says:

    I too am having trouble looking for jobs with no experience. I almost regret going to school to be a medical assistant. I cant find work. i signed up with every online job site there is and still no call backs. How do u get experience if they wont hire you.? In 6 months i will be in default of my student loans and it isnt from lack of looking for work. I have been looking. All i see is experience , 1 year experience, 1-2 years experience. What do i do now???

    • pam says:

      Try home care this is what i did as a new cna to get my foot in the door

      • Jessi says:

        They didn’t go to school for months and years to get a job that a crappy behind 2 week/4 week CNA is getting the jobs more than we are and we have more experience, degrees, certifications, months and years than them. I don’t understand what the heck is going on. One place suggested for me to take CNA Training just so I can work with them. Are they crazy! I refuse to sacrifice months, years of education EKG Class, Phlebotomy Class, Clinical Medical Class and Patient Care Class just to get a job some damn CNA’s get and trained what we do without knowing crap!

        I don;t understand these places. Maybe that’s why alot of their positions sit, even staffing agencies. This is crazy!

  6. Shanieka says:

    I completed the MA internship on July 3, but the site where i did my internship did not hire any of the interns. I am looking for employment but has been unsuccessful because all i am seeing is the want 1-2 years of experience.

  7. Lakendra says:

    What a coincidence, I’m dealing with these same issues. I’ve completed the Medical Assistant program with a GPA of a 4.0. I received my Diploma but failed my exam to become Registered twice by one and two points ( which is heart-breaking) because i NEVER missed a day of school or externship and i was always on the president’s and dean’s list smh. It almost feels as if i really wasted money (over$10,000) for a career that won’t even give me a chance to gain experience. I mean i know what I’m capable of doing but no ones willing to give me a try. I too agree with you all, when i’m filling out job applications the first thing i scroll down to is the requirements because i feel like i’ve wasted enough of my time trying to win an employer over already. Well good luck ladies i’ll be praying something comes along for us all.

  8. Kenia Aguilar says:

    I’m Medical assistant and i am in the same page of all you I can find a job is very hard I filled a lot of application and no call back I have Ekg phlebotomy to the thing I don like is that they need experienced 2 years

    • Lori says:

      Let’s start our own bonded MA coalition. We offer 2 weeks free externship, with proof of CMA. Or CCMA documentation. I’m good at my job. So are you. We can take a one week boot camp, get bonded, post our resumes on LinkedIn, and visit any urgent care center, clinic, Occupational Health center, or whatever! We could be the “Travelling MAs! I have a camper. Its an Idea, anyway…..?

      • Cathy Shearin says:

        I agree with you. There should be something new graduates can do to get hired. How do they expect you to get experience if no one gives you a chance? I really do not understand at all. There are MEDICAL STAFFING COMPANIES but so for they want at least a years experience. I am still looking and calling staffing companies. ready to give up and find a regular job.

  9. qiana nickerson says:

    I am having the same problem as all of you. I’m going to buy me some scrubs and do my job search the old fashioned way. Go into these medical sites speak to the off. Mngr and tell them my story. Pour my heart out and ask to train as an intern or shadow then get hired. That’s my last resort.
    I owe too much money not to get a job. I refuse to give up…

  10. Heather Hughes says:

    Do not waste your money on the MA program! 2 years later, still not able to get a job as an “unexperienced MA”!!!

  11. Akeenya says:

    Ladies…I am dealing 28th the same issue! Graduated in 2015..I have been on a few interviews. But of course they chose the one who had the experience. I am told I was a “great chose but had to go another direction.” which sucked! I was told the best thing to do is volunteer.
    But truth be told intill the “older MA’s ” retire we want have a that’s my opinion…they so be in need.but we all will be waited so long that we will be in to other job options…so currently I am still working as a CNA…thank GOD for that experience!!!!!!! Keep pushing MA’S

  12. Kevin says:

    US Healthworks does not require experience nor does UCLA for MA positions

  13. Ms Ty says:

    I graduated from the medical assistant in 2012 I did not find a job. I went back to school to get my bachelors degree in health care management and I finished that program in august of 2016. It is now nov and I have not found a job in that field yet. I get to the interview and I write a thank you letter for the interview and I hear nothing. My resume shows that the only experience that I have is in CNA. that is the only job that I am able to get. I have turned down jobs because I do not want to do CNA work anymore. I am trying not to get discouraged. What I really need is for a doctor office to give me the chance to show the skills that I have and prove tho them that I can do the job that they are requiring of me. I can do both clinical and administrative duties. I owe a lot of money in school loans, I can not give up. I am signed up to every job site I can think of. I want to move to NC and I am sending my resume to doctors offices out there also. I will not stop until I get a job in the field I went to school for. SOME ONE PLEASE HELP. I will work at the bottom and work my way up my last option is to volunteer so I can get the experience that they are looking for.

  14. Michelle says:

    Hello everyone, I know exactly what you are going thru. I had attended school and i have been searching for a job as a CCMA for the past 5 years now. I hear those who just graduate and they say oh i can’t find a job. I tell them, well hun i know what your going thru, i have been searching for 5 years now. Its not easy job searching for something you know you are educated in. I am a volunteer for a medical clinic and have been for 19 months now, however when something does come up i tell them i want to work there, they precede to tell me that i do not have the experience as a MA, and they do not have the time to train. So i am still there doing all the other jobs that i can do so i can put it on my resume and hope and pray that someone will want me as part of their company.
    Keep trying, keep praying, and be strong, hope one day we all are able to get the job we went to school for. Good Luck to you all and to me.

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