How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near Dixfield Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dixfield ME, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is ensure that the Dixfield ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions 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 practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Dixfield ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with 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 classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good 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 a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Dixfield ME area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Dixfield ME medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Dixfield ME with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Dixfield ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Dixfield ME area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Dixfield medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Dixfield ME 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 health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
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 choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dixfield ME, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dixfield Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dixfield ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dixfield is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,550 at the 2010 census. The town motto of Dixfield is "The Only One" because it is the only town in the world to claim that name. Dr. Elijah Dix, a substantial landowner in the area, bought the town (and Dixmont) which bears his name.
The Massachusetts General Court granted the township in 1789 to Colonel Jonathan Holman of Sutton, Massachusetts (now Millbury), an American Revolutionary War veteran, together with 25 others. In 1795, the first permanent settlers arrived with their families—John Marble, Gardner Brown, Amos Trask, Levi Newton, David Torrey and John Gould. It was called Holmantown Plantation until part of it was incorporated on June 21, 1803 as Dixfield, the 147th town in Maine (the remainder of the plantation would be incorporated in 1818 as Mexico). Dr. Elijah Dix of Boston, a substantial landowner in the area, promised to donate a library for the town if the citizens changed its name from Holmantown to Dixfield. The citizens complied, after which the town received dusty old boxes of medical books printed in German. Dr. Dix also left his name on Dixmont, where he died while visiting in 1809 and was buried.
With several streams for water power, Dixfield developed into a small mill town. It had sawmills and gristmills. It also produced cheese, carriages, shingles, toothpicks, rakes, wooden boxes, flies and leaders, boots and shoes. Dixfield once had a marble works.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Dixfield ME
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in CMA Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Dixfield ME.
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