Medical Assistant Education Needed Palmer AK

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Palmer Alaska

Palmer AK medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palmer AK, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.

The Function of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Palmer AK nursing home patientThe function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Palmer AK hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Alaska law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Education

Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Palmer AK health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Palmer AKThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Palmer AK area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Palmer AK medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Palmer AK medical assistant programsPrior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Palmer AK with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Palmer AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Palmer AK area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Palmer medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Palmer AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Palmer Alaska?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palmer AK area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Palmer, Alaska

Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.

The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena'ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.[4]

In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high-quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917, under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.

Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Palmer AK

Palmer AK medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education Needed. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Palmer AK.

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