How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Fairfield Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fairfield ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Fairfield ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions 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 facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities 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 tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Fairfield ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Fairfield ME area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Fairfield ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fairfield ME with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Fairfield ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Fairfield ME area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Fairfield healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Fairfield 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 health care 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 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 likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of 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 Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairfield ME, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Fairfield Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fairfield ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fairfield is a town in Somerset County, Maine, United States. The population was 6,735 at the 2010 census. The town includes Fairfield Center, Fairfield village and Hinckley, and borders the city of Waterville to the south. It is home to the Good Will-Hinckley School, Lawrence High School and Kennebec Valley Community College.
The area was territory of the Canibas tribe of Abenaki Indians residing at Taconnet village, once located downriver at the confluence of the Sebasticook and Kennebec rivers in what is today Winslow. In 1692 during King William's War, the village was burned, so the Canibas tribe abandoned the area. The French and Indian Wars finally ended in 1763, leaving the region open for English colonization. Fairfield Plantation, named for its fair aspect, was first settled in 1774.
Benedict Arnold and his troops rested and re-provisioned here in 1775 during their march up the Kennebec River to the Battle of Quebec. Following the Revolutionary War, Fairfield Plantation developed as a trade and agricultural town, with farms producing hay, grain and potatoes. It was noted for the number and quality of its cattle. On June 18, 1788, it was incorporated as Fairfield. By 1790, the community had 492 inhabitants. In 1837, it produced 11,531 bushels of wheat and a large quantity of wool.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Fairfield ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Trade Schools Near Me. 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fairfield ME.
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