How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Columbia Kentucky
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Columbia KY, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each 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 Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Columbia KY clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Kentucky law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Columbia KY 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 offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Columbia KY area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Columbia KY medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate 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 provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Columbia KY with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Columbia KY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Columbia KY area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Columbia health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Columbia KY area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Columbia KY, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Columbia Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Columbia KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,014 people, 1,554 households, and 893 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,167.9 per square mile (450.9/km2). There were 1,789 housing units at an average density of 520.5 per square mile (201.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.38% White, 7.37% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
There were 1,554 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 40.3% of all households were made up of individuals living alone and 22.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city, the population was spread out with 18.0% under the age of 18, 19.1% from 20 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Columbia KY
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Columbia KY.
More Medical Locations in Kentucky