How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Benton Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Benton KY, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Benton KY hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Kentucky law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Benton KY health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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 many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Benton KY area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical 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 option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Benton KY medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Benton KY with the lowest 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 must look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all 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 select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Benton KY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Benton KY area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Benton medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Benton KY area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton KY, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Benton Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Benton KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Benton is a U.S. home rule-class city in Marshall County, Kentucky. The current mayor of this city is Rita Dotson. The population was 4,349 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County. Benton was named for Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri.
Shape note singers gather annually at Benton on the fourth Sunday in May to sing from a tunebook called The Southern Harmony. This event, organized in 1884 and called The Big Singing or Big Singing Day, is considered by many[who?] to be the oldest indigenous musical tradition in the United States. Benton is also known for an annual festival called "Tater Day", which attracts residents from all over the Jackson Purchase and involves games, deep fried food, and a parade.
Benton is part of the Marshall County School District. There are 11 schools in the district, not including the technical school that is incorporated with Marshall County High School, the district's only secondary educational institution.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Benton KY
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Online Schools. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Benton KY.
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