How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near La Fayette Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near La Fayette KY, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the La Fayette KY clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Kentucky law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many La Fayette KY health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in La Fayette KY area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible La Fayette KY medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for 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 also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to La Fayette KY with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan 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 La Fayette KY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally 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 contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with La Fayette KY area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the La Fayette medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the La Fayette KY area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near La Fayette KY, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near La Fayette Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the La Fayette KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fayette County, Kentucky
Fayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 295,803, making it the second-most populous county in the commonwealth. Its territory, population and government are coextensive with the city of Lexington, which also serves as the county seat.
Fayette County—originally Fayette County, Virginia—was established by the Virginia General Assembly in June 1780, when it abolished and subdivided Kentucky County into three counties: Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln. Together, these counties and those set off from them later in that decade separated from Virginia in 1792 to become the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Originally, Fayette County included land which makes up 37 present-day counties and parts of 7 others. It was reduced to its present boundaries in 1799. The county is named for the Marquis de LaFayette, who came to America to support the rebelling English colonies in the American Revolutionary War.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Program La Fayette KY
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before 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 covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Online. But irrespective 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in La Fayette KY.
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