How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Kittery Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kittery ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few 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 function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Kittery ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based 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 responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Kittery ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Kittery ME area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Kittery ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections 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 restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Kittery ME with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Kittery ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must 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 choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn 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 decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Kittery ME area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Kittery healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Kittery ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kittery ME, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Kittery Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kittery ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kittery is a town in York County, Maine, United States. Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery includes Badger's Island, the seaside district of Kittery Point, and part of the Isles of Shoals. The town is a tourist destination known for its many outlet stores.
Kittery is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. The town's population was 9,490 at the 2010 census. Kittery may be the namesake of William Billings 1783 anthem "Kittery", which is printed in the Shenandoah Harmony and Missouri Harmony shape note tunebooks, but because the song was published after the incorporation of the town, this is debated.
English settlement around the natural harbor of the Piscataqua River estuary began about 1623. By 1632 it was protected by Fort William and Mary on today's New Hampshire side of the river; in 1689 defensive works that later became Fort McClary in Kittery Point were added on today's Maine side to the north.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Kittery ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to 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 covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Kittery ME.
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