How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Dexter Maine
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dexter ME, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Dexter ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a specific 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 Education
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Dexter ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have time to go to 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 earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Dexter ME area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Dexter ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Dexter ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Dexter ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Dexter ME area medical providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Dexter health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Dexter ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dexter ME, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dexter Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dexter ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dexter is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,895 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bangor metropolitan statistical area. Dexter Regional High School, which serves Dexter as well as other nearby small towns, is located in the town.
Dexter was settled beginning in 1801 by Ebenezer Small, David Smith, and others from New Hampshire, and was originally called Elkinstown. When incorporated as a town in 1816, it named itself after Judge Samuel Dexter, who was then running for governor of Massachusetts (of which Maine was still a part). The town of Brooks in nearby Waldo County was incorporated the same year and named for the opposing candidate, John Brooks. Brooks won the election. The town of Dexter, however, achieved the greater prosperity.
The town grew because of its location on the East Branch of the Sebasticook River, which provided excellent water power for mills. In 1818, Jonathan Farrar constructed a grist mill at the falls. The Dexter Historical Society today uses the building which replaced it in 1854 as part of its museum complex. The stream would also power five woolen mills, the oldest and largest of which was established by Amos and Jeremiah Abbott in 1836. Amos Abbott & Company, which closed in 1975, was the only textile mill in the United States owned by one family for such a long period. In the 1960s, the town's name became familiar throughout New England because of the pervasive log cabin style factory outlets of the Dexter Shoe Company, founded in a vacant Dexter woolen mill in 1958 by Harold Alfond.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Dexter ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example 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 Registered Medical Assistant Certification. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Dexter ME.
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