How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Belfast Maine
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Belfast ME, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes 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 want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Belfast ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available 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 most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Belfast ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Belfast ME area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Belfast ME medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Belfast ME with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, 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 must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Belfast ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Belfast ME area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Belfast healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Belfast ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Belfast ME, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Belfast Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Belfast ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Belfast is a city in Waldo County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 6,668. Located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River estuary on Belfast Bay and Penobscot Bay. Belfast is the county seat of Waldo County. The seaport has a wealth of antique architecture in several historic districts, and remains popular with tourists.
The area was once territory of the Penobscot tribe of Abenaki Native Americans, which each summer visited the seashore to hunt for fish, shellfish and seafowl. In 1630, it became part of the Muscongus Patent, which granted rights for English trading posts with the Native Americans, especially for the lucrative fur trade. About 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston bought the Muscongus Patent, which had evolved into outright ownership of the land, and was thereafter known as the Waldo Patent.
Waldo died in 1759, and his heirs would sell the plantation of Passagassawakeag (named after its river) to 35 Scots-Irish proprietors from Londonderry, New Hampshire. Renamed Belfast after Belfast, Northern Ireland, it was first settled in 1770, and incorporated as a town in 1773. The village was mostly abandoned during the Revolution while British forces occupied Bagaduce (now Castine). The British military burned Belfast in 1779, then held it for five days in September 1814 during the War of 1812.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Belfast ME
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Belfast ME.
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