How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Pownal Maine
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pownal ME, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 factors also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Pownal ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Pownal ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Pownal ME area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Pownal 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 highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend 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 confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Pownal ME with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. First, 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 agencies 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 exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Pownal ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Pownal ME area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Pownal medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pownal ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pownal ME, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pownal Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pownal ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pownal is a town in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,474 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area. Pownal is home to Bradbury Mountain State Park.
Originally the northwest portion of Freeport, it was first settled in 1680. The town was set off and incorporated by the Massachusetts General Court on March 3, 1808, named in honor of former Governor Thomas Pownall, who had died three years before. It swapped land with the town of North Yarmouth in 1813 and 1816. With an undulating surface of generally productive soil, agriculture became the principal occupation. By 1859, when the population was 1,074, other industries included a gristmill and a carriage factory.
Pownal was chosen by author Stephen King as the hometown of schoolteacher Johnny Smith, protagonist of his 1979 novel The Dead Zone, and of Ray Garraty, protagonist of his 1979 novel The Long Walk. King grew up in neighboring Durham.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Pownal ME
It’s essential 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 begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Duties. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Pownal ME.
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