How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Southport Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Southport ME, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Southport ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Southport ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those 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 option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Southport ME area healthcare 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 best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Southport ME medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to 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 choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Southport ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Southport ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Southport ME area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Southport healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Southport ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication 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 increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Southport ME, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Southport Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Southport ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Southport is a town in Lincoln County, Maine, United States. The population was 606 at the 2010 census. It includes the villages of Southport, West Southport, Cape Newagen, and Squirrel Island. The majority of the town's residents live on its main island, Southport Island.
Cape Newagen, at the southern tip of the island, was an early European fishing outpost. Southport was part of Boothbay until it separated on February 12, 1842. Originally called Townshend after Lord Townshend, the name was changed to Southport in 1850.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.16 square miles (59.98 km2), of which, 5.38 square miles (13.93 km2) of it is land and 17.78 square miles (46.05 km2) is water. Southport is on Southport Island in the mouth of the Sheepscot River. The Town of Southport constitutes the whole of Southport Island and smaller islands.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Southport ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Schools. But irrespective 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Southport ME.
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