How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Sulphur Louisiana
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Sulphur LA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students begin by checking out 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Sulphur LA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Louisiana law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Sulphur LA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Sulphur LA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Sulphur LA medical employers just 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Sulphur LA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Sulphur LA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Sulphur LA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Sulphur health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Sulphur LA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sulphur LA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out 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 Sulphur Louisiana?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Sulphur LA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Sulphur is named for the sulfur mines that were operated in the area in the 1900s. In 1867, Professor Eugene W. Hilgard, an experienced geologist who was prospecting for oil and other minerals, conducted exploratory borings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and discovered sulfur in the caprock of a salt dome. However, the sulfur was beneath several hundred feet of muck and quicksand containing deadly hydrogen sulfide gas, which made mining extremely hazardous. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to sink conventional mining shafts in the 1870s and 1880s resulted in the loss of many lives.
In 1890, the German immigrant Herman Frasch invented and patented the Frasch Process of mining sulfur, using concentric pipes to pump superheated water into the ground, liquefy the mineral, and force the liquid to the surface with compressed air. The first molten sulfur was brought to the surface on Christmas Eve of 1894. Sulfur soon began to be mined on an industrial scale, with the molten mineral allowed to solidify and dry in enormous vats 100 by 400 feet, then blasted and hauled by rail to the Sabine River for shipment. Frasch's invention greatly facilitated sulfur mining, and the Union Sulphur Company, a joint venture of Dr. Frasch and the American Sulphur Company that owned the land, sparked a period of booming growth in the decades that followed. The elementary school on South Huntington Street in downtown Sulphur is named after Frasch.
With the addition of the Cities Service (Citgo) oil refinery in 1943, the areas of Maplewood and Hollywood were developed to house refinery workers. The Sulphur area is still mostly dependent on the oil refineries and petrochemical plants for employment.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Sulphur LA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Night School. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Sulphur LA.
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