How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Elizabethtown Kentucky
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Elizabethtown KY, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean 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 issues also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Elizabethtown KY clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Kentucky law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Education
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Elizabethtown KY health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Elizabethtown KY area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Elizabethtown KY medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Elizabethtown KY with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Elizabethtown KY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes 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 about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Elizabethtown KY area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Elizabethtown healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Elizabethtown KY area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Elizabethtown KY, make sure that those times are available. You might 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 will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol 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 Elizabethtown Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Elizabethtown KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Elizabethtown is a home rule-class city and the county seat of Hardin County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 28,531 at the 2010 census, and was estimated at 29,906 by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, making it the 11th-largest city in the state. It is included in (and the principal city of) the Elizabethtown–Fort Knox, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Louisville/Jefferson County–Elizabethtown–Madison, Kentucky-Indiana Combined Statistical Area.
Elizabethtown is in east-central Hardin County, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Fort Knox. Interstate 65 passes through the southeast side of the city, leading north-northeast 45 miles (72 km) to Louisville and southwest 71 miles (114 km) to Bowling Green. The Western Kentucky Parkway starts at I-65 in Elizabethtown and leads west 138 miles (222 km) to Eddyville. To the east, the Bluegrass Parkway leads 105 miles (169 km) to Lexington.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Elizabethtown has a total area of 25.8 square miles (67 km2), of which 25.4 square miles (66 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1 km2) (1.77%) is water.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant College Elizabethtown KY
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Elizabethtown KY.
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