Hi! I recently heard an upperclassmen talk about how he is a medical assistant at Michigan Medicine, but I didn\\\’t know him well enough to ask for more detail. I was wondering how does one become a medical assistant, and when is the best time to take on that training to study for the test before the job? What year should I pursue this? I\\\’d like to start as soon as possible but I\\\’m honestly still scared about covid like we\\\’re all getting our shots but cases are still going up so I\\\’m scared fall will be remote too and wondering when will be a good time to start these types of things with all the uncertainty thank you!
First off, please know you are not alone in your worries about all that’s happening now, especially in Michigan and at the university. There is lots of uncertainty almost everywhere, and medical schools will be cognizant of that, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself!
That being said, I can imagine this student probably found this opportunity on the UMich Careers page. There’s lots of jobs there, and you can filter by jobs in the Michigan Medicine system, if you’re interested in working at the hospital. If you are absolutely certain you want to work as a medical assistant, you’ll want to make sure first that you have a schedule that would allow you to work full-time or part-time and still maintain a solid GPA and take care of yourself mentally. A typical medical assistant training program would require a few hundred hours of studying/clinical work, so it would be best to try and complete this when you don’t have a ton going on (spring/summer terms, perhaps). If you plan on taking a gap year and want to work as an MA during that year, doing the training the summer or semester before graduation might help expedite the job search process.
If you’re looking to get clinical experience in general, there are lots of ways to gain some exposure to the field without having to train to become a medical assistant, and these opportunities would probably allow you to start sooner than an MA job would. There are some Patient Care Tech jobs at the hospital that require some experience, but wouldn’t require as much training as a medical assistant. Right now it’s a little uncertain, but it’s likely the hospital, St. Joe’s, the VA, and other clinics in the area will start opening up volunteer opportunities, so keep a look out on their websites to catch those! Indeed is also a great place to find clinical work in the area if you are looking for paid employment.
The Career Center would be a great place to discuss more options for you, as I’m sure their staff is more knowledgable of employment options in the area. Best of luck with everything, and feel free to ask us questions here or in office hours any time!
-Owen, PMH Co-President