How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Dodge City Kansas
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dodge City KS, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Dodge City KS clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Kansas law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Dodge City KS health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Dodge City KS area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Dodge City KS medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Dodge City KS with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the school 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 intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Dodge City KS employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Dodge City KS area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Dodge City medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Dodge City KS area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dodge City KS, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dodge City Kansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dodge City KS area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dodge City, Kansas
Dodge City is the county seat of Ford County, Kansas, United States, named after nearby Fort Dodge. The city is famous in American culture for its history as a wild frontier town of the Old West. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,340.
Fort Mann was the first settlement of nonindigenous people in the area that became Dodge City, built by civilians in 1847 (then the territory being part of Mexico) to provide protection for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Mann collapsed in 1848 after an Indian attack. In 1850, the U.S. Army arrived to provide protection in the region and constructed Fort Atkinson on the old Fort Mann site. The army abandoned Fort Atkinson in 1853. Military forces on the Santa Fe Trail were re-established farther north and east at Fort Larned in 1859, but the area remained vacant around what would become Dodge City until the end of the Civil War. In April 1865, the Indian Wars in the West began heating up, and the army constructed Fort Dodge to assist Fort Larned in providing protection on the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Dodge remained in operation until 1882.
The town of Dodge City can trace its origins to 1871, when rancher Henry J. Sitler built a sod house west of Fort Dodge to oversee his cattle operations in the region, conveniently located near the Santa Fe Trail and Arkansas River, and Sitler's house quickly became a stopping point for travelers. Others saw the commercial potential of the region with the Santa Fe Railroad rapidly approaching from the east. In 1872, Dodge City was staked out on the 100th meridian and the legal western boundary of the Fort Dodge reservation. The town site was platted and George M. Hoover established the first bar in a tent to serve thirsty soldiers from Fort Dodge. The railroad arrived in September to find a town ready and waiting for business. The early settlers in Dodge City traded in buffalo bones and hides and provided a civilian community for Fort Dodge. However, with the arrival of the railroad, Dodge City soon became involved in the cattle trade.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Dodge City KS
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Dodge City KS.
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