How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Newton Kansas
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Newton KS, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Newton KS hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Kansas law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Newton KS health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical 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 usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Newton KS area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Newton KS medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Newton KS with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Newton KS employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Newton KS area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Newton medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Newton KS area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Newton KS, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Newton Kansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Newton KS area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located 25 miles (40 km) north of Wichita. The city of North Newton is located immediately north, existing as a separate political entity.
For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1872, Harvey County was founded.
In August 1871, there was a Gunfight at Hide Park, in which a total of eight men were killed. The incident began with an argument between two local lawmen, Billy Bailey and Mike McCluskie. Because of this incident, Newton became known as "bloody and lawless—the wickedest city in the west.".
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Newton KS
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Newton KS.
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