For Medical Assistants, Work Experience Just As Important as Graduate Education

The medical field is an ever changing and growing animal that sees constant attention and development from the academic community. As a result, it can be difficult to provide quality care to patients without also continuing education to the graduate level. Traditionally speaking, work as a medical assistant does not usually require a graduate degree, however, in today’s world that does not always hold true.

So for someone thinking of becoming a medical assistant who has just finished their undergraduate work, it becomes important to ask whether one should head to graduate school immediately. According to Lauren Evans, the Research and Training Coordinator for the American College of Rheumatology, enrolling in a graduate program immediately might be a huge mistake.

For Evans, there might be nothing more important than getting work experience before heading to graduate school. “Because graduate students who have been on a straight track from undergrad to master’s program to a Ph.D. program often lack two crucial professional skills, project management and communication skills,” says Evans.

While college helps to provide knowledge and most programs require internships that give real world experience, this is all also usually spurred by the need for a good grade. Outside of the college atmosphere, students have not always developed the ability to communicate professionally and manage themselves. Working on the job helps to give real field experience to students and teach how to tackle issues and obstacles that cannot be simulated in the classroom.

These are all tools and experiences that can help to enhance the academic experience as well as the professional one. They provide perspective that will be useful while studying, and help to strengthen applications allowing students to potentially attend higher quality graduate schools then they might otherwise have been able to.

So for a medical assistant considering higher education, it may be wise to consider higher employment first.