How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near South Thomaston Maine
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near South Thomaston ME, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the South Thomaston ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of South Thomaston ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive 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 element 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 numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in South Thomaston ME area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential South Thomaston ME medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to South Thomaston ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist 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 choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential South Thomaston ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’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. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with South Thomaston ME area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the South Thomaston health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the South Thomaston ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near South Thomaston ME, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near South Thomaston Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the South Thomaston ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
South Thomaston, Maine
Abenaki Indians called it Wessaweskeag, meaning "tidal creek" or "salt creek," a reference to what is now known as the Weskeag River. Thomas Lefebvre from Quebec, Canada owned a huge tract of land at the Weskeag River, where his stay began in 1704. He built a large gristmill, with a house on the shoreline. Although he would eventually return to Quebec, the area retained his name — Thomas' Town. But the adjacent St. George River was the uneasy dividing line between land controlled by New England and New France. Permanent settlement would be delayed by the French and Indian Wars, which ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
In 1767, Wessaweskeag was settled by Elisha Snow, who built a sawmill operated by tidal power. In 1773, Joseph Coombs arrived and built another sawmill nearby, and together they built a gristmill. The village of South Thomaston grew around the mills, which would include three granite polishing machines to process stone cut from the town's numerous quarries. On July 28, 1848, South Thomaston was set off from Thomaston and incorporated as a separate town.Owl's Head would be set off from South Thomaston on July 9, 1921.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 17.97 square miles (46.54 km2), of which, 11.44 square miles (29.63 km2) of it is land and 6.53 square miles (16.91 km2) is water. South Thomaston is located on the Weskeag River inlet.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training South Thomaston ME
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Cost To Become A Medical Assistant. 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 choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in South Thomaston ME.
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