How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Stratton Maine
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Stratton ME, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Stratton ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Maine law, some opt 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Stratton ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to 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 courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Stratton ME area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Stratton ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Stratton ME with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Stratton ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select 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 about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Stratton ME area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Stratton health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Stratton ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Stratton ME, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Stratton Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Stratton ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
General Tom Thumb
Charles Sherwood Stratton (January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), better known by his stage name "General Tom Thumb", was a dwarf who achieved great fame as a performer under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.
Stratton was the son of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, carpenter named Sherwood Edward Stratton, son of Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Sherwood married his first cousin Cynthia Thompson, daughter of Joseph Thompson and Mary Ann Sharpe. Charles Stratton's maternal and paternal grandmothers, Amy and Mary Ann Sharpe, were stated to be small twin girls born on July 11, 1781/83 in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut.
Born in Bridgeport to parents who were of medium height, Charles was a relatively large baby, weighing 9 pounds 8 ounces (4.3 kg) at birth. He developed and grew normally for the first six months of his life, at which point he was 25 inches (64 cm) tall and weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Then he suddenly stopped growing. His parents became concerned when, after his first birthday, they noticed he had not grown at all in the previous six months. They showed him to their doctor, who said there was little chance Charles would ever reach normal height.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Stratton ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example 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 Medical Assistant Certification. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Stratton ME.
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