How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Hazard Kentucky
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hazard KY, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Hazard KY hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Kentucky law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Hazard KY health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Hazard KY area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Hazard KY medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). 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. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want 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 comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Hazard KY with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure 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 Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Hazard KY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Hazard KY area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Hazard healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Hazard KY area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hazard KY, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hazard Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hazard KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Local landowner Elijah Combs Sr. laid out the town in 1824 as the planned seat of the newly established Perry County. Both the town and the county were named for Cdre. Oliver Hazard Perry, a commander in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The post office was initially known as Perry Court House but the name was officially changed to Hazard in 1854. The city was formally incorporated by the state assembly in 1884.
Long isolated by the surrounding mountains, Hazard was opened to the outside world by the arrival of the railroad in 1912. The only access to the valley had previously been 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River or a two-week trip over the surrounding mountains. The railroad brought boom times to the town, but the Great Depression saw prosperity end as quickly as it had begun.
In 1981, several cast members of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, including Catherine Bach, James Best, Sorrell Booke and Rick Hurst, visited Hazard during its Black Gold Festival. Soon afterwards, the series' stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider made appearances in Hazard.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Hazard KY
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many 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 pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hazard KY.
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