How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Olathe Kansas
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Olathe KS, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Olathe KS hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may 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 options 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
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Olathe KS 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 two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended 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, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Olathe KS area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Olathe KS medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Olathe KS with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. 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, many prospective Olathe KS employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select 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 one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Olathe KS area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Olathe health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Olathe KS area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Olathe KS, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Olathe Kansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Olathe KS area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Olathe (/oʊˈleɪθə/ oh-LAY-thə) is a city in, and is the county seat of, Johnson County, Kansas, United States. Located in northeastern Kansas, it is the fourth most populous city in Kansas, with a population of 125,872 persons as of 2010. By 2017, the Census Bureau estimated Olathe's population had grown to 137,472. Olathe is also the fourth-largest city in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is bordered by the cities of Lenexa to the north, Overland Park to the east, De Soto to the northwest, and Gardner to the southwest.
Olathe was founded by Dr. John T. Barton in the spring of 1857. He rode to the center of Johnson County, Kansas and staked two quarter sections of land as the town site. He later described his ride to friends: "...the prairie was covered with verbena and other wild flowers. I kept thinking the land was beautiful and that I should name the town Beautiful." Purportedly, Barton asked a Shawnee interpreter how to say "Beautiful" in his native language. The interpreter responded, "Olathe."
Olathe was incorporated in 1857, and while not the first city in Johnson County, its rapid growth lead to it being named the county seat in October 1859. Rising tensions across the nation over the issue of slavery lead to numerous clashes between abolitionists settlers and neighboring slave state Missouri. These clashes would further escalate and become a part of the greater conflict known as Bleeding Kansas. With the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free state in 1861, violence began to dissipate. Peace, however, would continue to elude Olathe for many years to come. In 1861 Union officials and local military forces created a military post in the city. It housed one company of troops along with the local militia.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Olathe KS
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare 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 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 discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Online Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type 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 selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Olathe KS.
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