How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Orrington Maine
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Orrington ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Orrington ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Orrington ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Orrington ME area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Orrington ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide 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 selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Orrington ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Orrington ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Orrington ME area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Orrington healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Orrington ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator 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 greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience 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 college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Orrington ME, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy 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 Orrington Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Orrington ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Orrington was originally part of Condustiegg (or Kenduskeag) Plantation, which also included the present-day cities of Bangor and Brewer. Orrington was incorporated as a town in 1788 with its major village at Brewer, then called "New Worcester". Bangor incorporated three years later in 1791. Brewer broke away from Orrington in 1812 to form a separate town.
The name "Orrington" reportedly resulted from a spelling mistake. The settlers intended to name it "Orangetown" after Orangetown, Maryland, but it was written on the record-books in distant Massachusetts, of which Maine was then a territory, as "Orrington". "Orring" was a reasonable phonetic rendering of "orange" before the standardization of English spelling.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.33 square miles (70.78 km2), of which, 24.99 square miles (64.72 km2) of it is land and 2.34 square miles (6.06 km2) is water.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Orrington ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information 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 addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Information. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Orrington ME.
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