How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Lewiston Idaho
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lewiston ID, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Lewiston ID hospitals, clinics and other healthcare 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 assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Idaho law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lewiston ID health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might 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 earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Lewiston ID area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Lewiston ID medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lewiston ID with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Lewiston ID employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, 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. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Lewiston ID area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Lewiston health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Lewiston ID area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lewiston ID, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lewiston Idaho?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lewiston ID area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lewiston is a city in and the county seat of Nez Perce County, Idaho, United States, in the state's north central region. It is the second-largest city in the northern Idaho region, behind Coeur d'Alene, and ninth-largest in the state. Lewiston is the principal city of the Lewiston, ID-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Nez Perce County and Asotin County, Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population of Lewiston was 31,894, up from 30,904 in 2000.
Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River, thirty miles (48 km) southeast of the Lower Granite Dam. Because of dams (and their locks) on the Snake and Columbia River, Lewiston is reachable by some ocean-going vessels. The Port of Lewiston (Idaho's only seaport) has the distinction of being the farthest inland port east of the West Coast of the United States. The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport serves the city by air.
Lewiston was founded 157 years ago in 1861 in the wake of a gold rush which began the previous year near Pierce, northeast of Lewiston. In 1863, Lewiston became the first capital of the newly created Idaho Territory. Its stint as seat of the new territory's government was short-lived, as a resolution to have the capital moved south to Boise was passed by the Idaho Territorial Legislature on December 7, 1864.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Lewiston ID
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs Online. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lewiston ID.
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