How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Farmington Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Farmington ME, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Farmington ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Farmington ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive 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 requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Farmington ME area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Farmington ME medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant 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 CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Farmington ME with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Farmington ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select 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. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Farmington ME area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Farmington medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Farmington ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during 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 convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Farmington ME, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Farmington Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Farmington ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Farmington is a town in and the county seat of Franklin County, Maine, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 7,760. Farmington is home to the University of Maine at Farmington, the Nordica Memorial Auditorium, the Homestead, and the annual Farmington Fair.
The area was once territory of the Canibas tribe of Abenaki Indians. They had two camps located near Farmington Falls, with fields cleared for cultivation of maize and potatoes. Their fort's stockade enclosed about an acre at the center of what is today Farmington Falls village. A group from Topsham arrived in 1776 to explore the area and lay out a town, called Plantation No. 1 or Sandy River Plantation, but permanent settlement was delayed by the Revolutionary War.
In 1781, the first settlers arrived, the same year a sawmill was established. On February 1, 1794, Sandy River Plantation was incorporated as Farmington, named for its unusually fertile soil. Beginning with a cluster of log houses at Farmington Falls, the town grew quickly and prospered. Agriculture was an important early occupation, with hay a principal product. Orchards yielded apples and other fruit. Farmington became one of the largest wool producing towns in New England, with many herds of sheep grazing the hills and intervales.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Farmington ME
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper 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 lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Vocational Schools. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Farmington ME.
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