An interview with Janet, who is a medical assistant at a doctor’s office in California.  Janet completed a medical assistant program at American Career College in  Los Angeles.

Q: Why did you decide to get this type of training?

A: I had heard that there is a shortage of people in the medical industry, not just with nursing, but with all areas of the field. I really don’t have the stomach for working on the frontline, but I wanted a job where I could help people and where I could be pretty sure my job would be stable.  With the way the economy is right now, I am really glad I decided to go this way with my career.

Q: What is your current career?

A: I am a medical assistant at a local doctor’s office. Most of what I do would be considered to be secretarial – handling phone calls, filing medical records, scheduling appointments, that sort of thing.

Q: How did your training help you get into this career?

A: Well, I already had some secretarial experience, but I wanted to specialize in a certain area so I could have better job opportunities and so I could make more money.  I would have never landed this job if I hadn’t completed the program at America Career College.  I think some doctors do provide on the job training, but the doctor I work for doesn’t. Besides, if you have the schooling, you can get a higher pay rate.

Q: How would things be different for you if you hadn’t received this training?

A: As I mentioned, I never would have landed this job if I hadn’t received the training.  So, I suppose I still would have tried to pursue a job in the field by looking for someone who doesn’t require medical assistant training, but I think it would have been a lot harder to find a job and I probably wouldn’t be making as much money as I do now.

Q: Were you happy with the training that you received?

A: Yes, definitely.  It took less than a year to complete the program and I was able to work on my own schedule.  Not only that, but the classes really helped get me prepared for the job.

Q: What was your favorite class?

A: It’s hard to say, but I think the anatomy class was the most interesting. Like I said, I have a bit of weak stomach, so some of that stuff can be difficult for me to look at.  Still, it is interesting to me.

Q: What class do you think was the most useful?

A: For what I do, I think  the office business procedures class was probably the most useful because I do mostly clerical type work.

Q: How long did it take you to complete the program?

A: Just 8 months!

Q: How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

A: I was able to qualify for financial assistance.  So, by the time all was said and done, really only cost me a few hundred dollars out of my own pocket.

Q: Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

A: I went full-time while working a part time job during the day.  I took the evening classes, which ran from 4:00 to 10:30 at night four days per week.  I guess it did make for long days, but it wasn’t too bad since the program only lasted for 8 months.

Q: Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?

A: Yes, for anyone who is interested in becoming a medical assistant, I think it is a great program. The teachers are nice, the program is interesting, scheduling is flexible and you can complete the program in just 8 months.

Q: If you could do it all over again, would you?

A: Yes, definitely.  The program really helped give me the training I needed to get the type of job I wanted.

Q: What was the most difficult part of the program for you?

A: The long days were rough sometimes.  Even though I worked part-time, I still had to put a lot of hours into going to school and working. So, keeping focused was hard at times.

Q: About how many other students were in your classes?

A: It varied by class, but I don’t think I ever had any more than maybe 15 or 20 people in a class.