On-The-Job Training for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants (MA) work in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices providing assistance to patients, doctors, and other health care providers. Although preferred by some employers, an MA is not required to go through formal medical assistant training nor obtain a license to practice as a medical assistant, prior to employment. Some employers who utilize the skills of medical assistants offer on-the-job training for those who have not completed a traditional MA training program. On-the-job training is often designed to meet the specific needs of employers. This type of training only teaches medical assistants what they need to know to work for that employer.
Paid and Non-paid Training
Employers may offer paid or non-paid on-the-job training for those hired to work as medical assistants. Employer-based training programs vary in length. The information taught during these programs is dependent upon the job duties of the MA as well as the needs of the health care facility in which they will work. Some employers offer on-the-job training that takes place on-site. Others may send new hires through training programs held elsewhere. Some employers may offer to pay the new medical assistants while they complete their training. Others offer on-the-job training for medical assistants but may choose not to pay them until the training is completed and they are working within the health care facility.
Job shadowing is when a new medical assistant follows, or shadows, an experienced medical assistant. This gives them the opportunity to learn medical assisting skills and gain real-life experience caring for patients and assisting doctors and other health care professionals.
Experienced medical assistants provide systematic instructions on how to perform procedures, treatments, assessments and clerical skills necessary to work as a medical assistant for that employer. With the help of more experienced medical assistants, job shadowing provides new MA the opportunity to ask questions and develop their own techniques for performing assessments, providing treatments or assisting doctors with procedures.
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