How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Winchester Kentucky
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Winchester KY, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may want to look into several 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 schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Winchester KY clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- 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 choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Winchester KY health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to 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 courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Winchester KY area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Winchester KY medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Winchester KY with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Winchester KY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’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. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Winchester KY area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Winchester health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Winchester KY area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual 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 teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winchester KY, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Winchester Kentucky?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Winchester KY area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Winchester is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Clark County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 18,368 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Winchester is located northwest of the center of Clark County, 18 miles (29 km) east of Lexington and 15 miles (24 km) west of Mt. Sterling. Kentucky Route 1958 (Bypass Road) is an outer loop around the town. Kentucky Route 627 (Boonesborough Road) leads towards Richmond, 21 miles (34 km) to the south and Paris to the north. U.S. Route 60 (Winchester-Lexington Road/Lexington Avenue) runs through downtown Winchester. Interstate 64 passes through the northern part of the city, with access from exits 94 and 96. The Mountain Parkway turns off I-64 just northeast of Winchester and leads 75 miles (121 km) east to Salyersville.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Winchester has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20.4 km2), of which 7.8 square miles (20.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.67%, is water.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Winchester KY
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide 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 life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Winchester KY.
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