How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Eastport Maine
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Eastport ME, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Eastport ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Maine 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Eastport ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Eastport ME area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Eastport ME 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 respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Eastport ME with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Eastport ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’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 school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Eastport ME area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Eastport health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Eastport ME area and find out 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eastport ME, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Eastport Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Eastport ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Eastport is a small city (consisting entirely of islands) in Washington County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,331 at the 2010 census, making Eastport the least-populous city in Maine. The principal island is Moose Island, which is connected to the mainland by causeway. Eastport is the easternmost city in the United States (although the nearby town of Lubec is the easternmost municipality).
The native Passamaquoddy Tribe has called this area home for at least 10,000 years. Some archeologists estimate the habitation at 20,000 years. The first known European contact was the St. Croix colony founded by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Near present-day Calais, the unsuccessful Saint Croix Island Acadia settlement predates the first successful English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, by three years. On June 25, 1604, Champlain and his men spent a long and severe winter on St. Croix Island with no fresh water and diminished supplies. Two-fifths of the men died of scurvy, and the colony moved across the Bay of Fundy to Port Royal in present-day Nova Scotia.
Fishermen and traders visited the area in the 17th century. Moose Island was first settled in 1772 by James Cochrane of Newburyport, Massachusetts, who would be joined by other fishermen from Newburyport and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On February 24, 1798, Eastport was incorporated as a town from Plantation Number 8 PS by the Massachusetts General Court, and named for being the easternmost port in the United States. Lubec, on the mainland, was set off and incorporated as a town on June 21, 1811.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Eastport ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 Medical Assistant Night Classes. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Eastport ME.
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