How should I go about getting an entry-level job in a medical office? Medical assisting vs. front office stuff. (Snowflakes inside.)
I'm a 34 year old male with no real work history, as I have been on a disability for my entire adult life. Previous AskMeFi questions concerned possible part-time jobs and graduate programs. I did get a part-time job for a couple of months, but SSI only let me keep about $70 before they started cutting my disability check, so I didn't get paid enough to make a real difference, let alone achieve my goal of moving out of my mom's house. Grad school remains a long-term possibility, but I'm reluctant to take on a lot of debt, and I don't want to remain in my current situation for several more years.
I am interested in getting an entry-level job in a medical office. Health care is virtually the only sector of the economy that’s growing. I know that all jobs involve stress, but something like medical assistant seems like a decent nine-to-five "lifestyle job."
*I have a B.A. in English (2007)
*I’ve taken classes in Medical Terminology Anatomy, and Pathophysiology (this Spring)
*I did a two-month internship in a doctor’s office (2011)
*I have several references (from the aforementioned internship, a web design client, and volunteer positions)
*Lack of work history. I sometimes flatter myself that I look younger than my actual age of 34, but people will still surmise that I was an older college student. In addition, I haven’t had a full-time job in the five years since I graduated college. I am hoping my design portfolio will be enough to make it look like I’ve been doing something with my life.
*Few networking contacts.
I am considering two options:
(1) A 9-month medical assisting program
(+) It includes an externship, which might lead to a job offer.
(-) Since the program is full-time, I wouldn’t be able to get a job for another nine months. I feel that getting a job is key to improving my self-esteem and getting on with my life.
(-) If I don’t get hired through the externship, I may have a hard time finding a job. I have heard from several people that employers want 1-2 years experience for even entry-level medical assisting jobs.
(2) A 360-hour online program in medical administration, medical billing, coding, and medical terminology.
(-) Since it’s self-paced, I would keep my weekdays free to apply for jobs, temping, internships, etc.
(-) Word is that online degrees lack credibility. (But maybe the stigma is less relevant for an entry-level job than for a graduate degree?)
(-) I would have to line up my own internship.
I'm not sure whether I would prefer medical assisting or front office work. I'm an introvert, but I like some social interaction. I don't like high-conflict situations or body fluids. (My impression is that medical assisting would be a relatively low-goo
occupation, especially in a specialty like neurology.)
My goal is to get a "good-enough" job as soon as possible. Would I be making a mistake by doing the online program?