How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Leeds Maine
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Leeds ME, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Leeds ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain 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
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Leeds ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. 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 can be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Leeds ME area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Leeds ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Leeds ME with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Leeds ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 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, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Leeds ME area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Leeds medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Leeds ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school 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 broad network of contacts 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 throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Leeds ME, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Leeds Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Leeds ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Leeds is a town in Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,326 at the 2010 census. It is included in both the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan New England City and Town Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.41 square miles (112.43 km2), of which 40.05 square miles (103.73 km2) is land and 3.36 square miles (8.70 km2) is water.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the town was $37,993, and the median income for a family was $42,557. Males had a median income of $30,245 versus $24,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,602. About 5.9% of families and 9.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School Leeds ME
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering 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 decide on 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 Requirements. But irrespective 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Leeds ME.
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