How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Parsonsfield Maine
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Parsonsfield ME, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students start by checking out 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each 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 Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Parsonsfield ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with 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. Some of the many duties 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 specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams 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 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 Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Parsonsfield ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community 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 training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to 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 pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Parsonsfield ME area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Parsonsfield ME medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Parsonsfield ME with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Parsonsfield ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’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. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Parsonsfield ME area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Parsonsfield medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Parsonsfield 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 suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Parsonsfield ME, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Parsonsfield Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Parsonsfield ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Parsonsfield is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,898 at the 2010 census. Parsonsfield includes the villages of Kezar Falls, Parsonsfield, and North, East and South Parsonsfield. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.
This was part of a large tract of land sold on November 28, 1668 by Newichewannock Indian Chief Sunday (or Wesumbe) to Francis Small, a trader from Kittery. The price was two large Indian blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of gunpowder, four pounds of musket balls and twenty strings of Indian beads. Small then sold half his interest to Major Nicholas Shapleigh of what is now Eliot. In 1771, heirs sold the township to Thomas Parsons and 39 associates, upon which it was surveyed into 100-acre (0.40 km2) lots. Called Parsonstown Plantation, it was first settled in 1772 by 12 families.
On August 29, 1785, the town was incorporated as Parsonsfield after Thomas Parsons, one of the largest proprietors. The Blazo-Leavitt House, a fine example of the Federal style, was built in 1812. Parsonsfield Seminary was founded in 1832 and closed in 1949.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College Parsonsfield ME
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in CMA Medical Assistant. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Parsonsfield ME.
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