How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Milford Maine
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Milford ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Milford ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Milford ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Milford ME area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Milford ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded 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 be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Milford ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Milford ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
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. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at 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, find out what the program’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 school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Milford ME area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Milford healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Milford ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Milford ME, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Milford Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Milford ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Milford is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. It is located across the Penobscot River from the city of Old Town. The population of Milford was 3,070 at the 2010 census. The town's slogan is the "Best little town by a dam site," referring to the Milford Dam abutting Milford on the Penobscot River, south of the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation.
Milford was the site of a major 19th century water powered sawmill on the Penobscot River. Most of its lumber was shipped from nearby Bangor. The large Bodwell Water Power Co. sawmills (1889), owned by Maine Governor Joseph Robinson Bodwell, burned in 1891, almost taking the village with it. The present Bodwell Water Power Co. plant, also known as the Milford Plant of Bangor Hydro, was built in 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Wallace C. Johnson, a civil engineer who also worked on hydro-power projects at Niagara Falls.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 45.80 square miles (118.62 km2), of which, 45.63 square miles (118.18 km2) of it is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School Milford ME
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Program. But regardless of the kind 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 supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Milford ME.
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