How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Topsham Maine
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Topsham ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 critical issues also. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Topsham ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Programs
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Topsham 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 generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have 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 to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Topsham ME area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Topsham ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Topsham ME with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you select 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 plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Topsham ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, 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 just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Topsham ME area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Topsham medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Topsham ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe 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 college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Topsham ME, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Topsham Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Topsham ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Topsham is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,784 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. The town is home to the annual Topsham Fair.
Called Sawacook, the area was territory of the Pejepscot Abenaki Indians, a subtribe of the Anasagunticooks (now Androscoggins), who controlled the Androscoggin River. They lived and fished at Pejepscot Falls. But a plague, probably smallpox brought by Europeans, decimated the tribe's population in 1615–1616. On June 16, 1632, the area was granted by the Plymouth Council to Thomas Purchase and George Way, later acquired by Richard Wharton and then, in 1714, by the Pejepscot Company.
The first sawmill was built in 1716 on the Cathance River and, in 1717, the plantation received the name Topsham, named for Topsham in Devon, England. On January 31, 1764, it was incorporated as a town by the Massachusetts General Court.Shipbuilding and lumber mills were important early businesses, the latter especially active between 1750–1770. There was a gristmill and brickyard. Pejepscot Falls provided water power to operate mills, and industries included a door, window sash and stairway factory, shingle mill, watch factory, pottery maker, nail factory, pitchfork factory, two tanneries, tobacco manufacturer, two feldspar quarries and a marble works. In 1856, the Sagadahoc Agricultural & Horticultural Society erected its building and fairgrounds, and the town remains host to the annual Topsham Fair.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Topsham ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper 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 life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant. But regardless 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, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Topsham ME.
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