How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Pratt Kansas
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pratt KS, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences 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 critical factors as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Pratt KS clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Kansas law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Pratt KS health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Pratt KS area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain 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 option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Pratt KS medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps 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 graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type 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 start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Pratt KS with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Pratt KS employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’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 college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Pratt KS area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Pratt health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pratt KS area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large 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 likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pratt KS, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pratt Kansas?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pratt KS area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pratt was founded in 1884 and named after Caleb S. Pratt, a young Civil War officer from the Kansas Infantry, who was killed in the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri The first post office in Pratt was established in June 1884.
In 1887, the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway built a main line from Herington to Pratt. In 1888, this line was extended to Liberal. Later, it was extended to Tucumcari, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. It foreclosed in 1891 and was taken over by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, which shut down in 1980 and reorganized as Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad, which merged in 1988 with Missouri Pacific Railroad. In 1997, Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Rock Island".
Built in 1930, Hotel Roberts is the largest and most highly styled historic hotel in Pratt. Construction of the hotel was initiated by the Pratt Chamber of Commerce, which formed a committee in the late 1920s specifically to facilitate the construction of a large new hotel. Seen as a potentially valuable asset for the community, the hotel was financed in part through a public subscription campaign, and constructed on land provided by the Chamber. The Pratt Hotel Company owned and operated the hotel and hired Wichita architect Samuel S. Voigt and Kansas City contractor Webster L. Elson to design and build the building. Elson not only supervised the rapid construction of the "fire-proof" building, he was a founding member of the Pratt Hotel Company, and he retained an ownership interest in the property for many years. The community hospital was established on the eighth floor of the building in 1932, complete with an operating room and an x-ray machine. Architecturally, the building is significant as an early and sophisticated example of the Art Deco style in central Kansas. The hotel opened as the Hotel Roberts in 1930, and continued under that name until 1959, when it was purchased by Monte Parrish and renamed the Hotel Parrish. In January 2015 it was listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places for its local significance in the areas of architecture and community planning and development.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Pratt KS
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish 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 must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Certified Medical Assistant. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Pratt KS.
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