How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Boulder Colorado
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Boulder CO, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Boulder CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Colorado law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Boulder CO health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Boulder CO area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Boulder CO medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Boulder CO with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Boulder CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose 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 elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Boulder CO area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Boulder medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Boulder CO area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during 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 possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Boulder CO, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Boulder Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Boulder CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Boulder (/ˈboʊldər/) is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Boulder County, and the 11th most populous municipality in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,430 feet (1,655 m) above sea level. The city is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Denver.
Boulder is famous for its association with American frontier history and for being the home of the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state's largest university. The city frequently receives high rankings in art, health, well-being, quality of life, and education.
Boulder City was a part of the Nebraska Territory until February 28, 1861, when the Territory of Colorado was created by the US Congress. It developed as a supply base for miners going into the mountains. Residents of Boulder City provided these miners with equipment, agricultural products, gambling and drinking establishments.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Boulder CO
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Study. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Boulder CO.
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