How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Lebanon Maine
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lebanon ME, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Lebanon ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lebanon 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 essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Lebanon ME area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Lebanon ME medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lebanon ME with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Lebanon ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get 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 choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Lebanon ME area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Lebanon medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Lebanon ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lebanon ME, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lebanon Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lebanon ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lebanon is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 6,031 at the 2010 census. Lebanon includes the villages of Center Lebanon, West Lebanon, North Lebanon, South Lebanon and East Lebanon. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. Lebanon Airport is home to Skydive New England.
It was called Towwoh by the Newichawannock Abenaki tribe, whose main village was further down the Salmon Falls River. On April 20, 1733, the Massachusetts General Court granted Towwoh Plantation to 60 colonists, who first settled it in 1743. The township was incorporated on June 17, 1767, renamed Lebanon after the biblical land of Lebanon. It was Maine's 23rd town. Lebanon annexed unincorporated land in 1785, and some from Sanford in 1787. It swapped land with Shapleigh, giving some in 1793, then annexing some in 1825.
Farmers found the surface of the town relatively level in the southeast, with extensive pine plains in the northwest. The chief crop would be hay. At the Salmon Falls River and the Little River were water power sites for mills. Lebanon had four sawmills, three gristmills, a shingle mill, a wool carding mill and a tannery. In 1850, Oren B. Cheney founded West Lebanon Academy. Beginning in the early 1870s, the Portland and Rochester Railroad ran the length of the town's southeast side, with the Portsmouth, Great Falls and Conway Railroad crossing for a short distance on the western side.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant College Lebanon ME
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lebanon ME.
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