How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near North Berwick Maine
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near North Berwick ME, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future 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 location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should 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 credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the North Berwick ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based 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 responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 have a college degree. However, many North Berwick ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in North Berwick ME area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential North Berwick ME medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to North Berwick ME with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some 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 several great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective North Berwick ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast 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 schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with North Berwick ME area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the North Berwick medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the North Berwick 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Berwick ME, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near North Berwick Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the North Berwick ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
North Berwick, Maine
Originally a part of Kittery called Kittery Commons, the area was first settled in 1693 by John Morrell, a Quaker who built a log cabin on Wells Street. It was set off from Kittery in 1713 as part of Berwick, named for Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Anglo-Scottish border. Doughty Falls in the Great Works River provided water power for a sawmill, gristmill and carding mill. After the Revolutionary War, the small mill town grew rapidly. It was set off and incorporated as North Berwick on March 22, 1831. The town was named after Berwick, England.
Development was spurred in 1842 by the arrival of the Portland, Saco & Portsmouth Railroad, joined by the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1873. North Berwick became a railroad hub from which its manufactured goods were shipped, including lumber, shingles, clapboards, wooden boxes, firewood, bricks, carriages, caskets, clocks, stove and shoe polish, toboggans and sleds. Also loaded aboard the boxcars were barrels of apples, blocks of ice cut from frozen ponds, granite from quarries, and tins of corn packed at a canning factory. But the 2 biggest North Berwick businesses during the 19th-century made woolens and farm implements.
In 1834, the Maine Legislature incorporated Lang, Hill & Company to manufacture woolen blankets, called "printing blankets," at a mill beside the Great Works River. Renamed the North Berwick Company, by 1850 its principal owner was "Friend" William Hill, who trained as a machinist at the Great Falls Manufacturing Company in Somersworth, New Hampshire. The wooden mill was destroyed by fire in 1861, but rebuilt in brick in 1862. It produced blankets for Civil War troops. The factory had 40 looms turning out 1,500 yards of flannel daily, in addition to blankets. In 1955, the North Berwick Company would close. Its landmark Greek Revival building was used as the Parrish Shoes factory in the 1995 movie Jumanji, and has since been renovated and adapted as housing.
Select the Right Medical Assistant College North Berwick ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Ophthalmic Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in North Berwick ME.
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