How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Durham Maine
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Durham ME, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” 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 offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Durham ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Durham ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals 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 together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend 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 certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Durham ME area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Durham ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained 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 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 also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, 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 procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Durham ME with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in 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 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Durham ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever 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 Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Durham ME area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Durham healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Durham ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive 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 practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program 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 college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Durham ME, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Durham Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Durham ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Durham is a town in Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,848 at the 2010 census. It is included in both the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan New England City and Town Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 39.04 square miles (101.11 km2), of which 38.28 square miles (99.14 km2) is land and 0.76 square miles (1.97 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,848 people, 1,496 households, and 1,143 families residing in the town. The population density was 100.5 inhabitants per square mile (38.8/km2). There were 1,548 housing units at an average density of 40.4 per square mile (15.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Durham ME
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Registered Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Durham ME.
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