How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near West Baldwin Maine
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Baldwin ME, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the West Baldwin ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Courses
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many West Baldwin ME health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option 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 comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in West Baldwin ME area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible West Baldwin ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 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.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to West Baldwin ME with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below 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 College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by one 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 assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective West Baldwin ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs 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 fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with West Baldwin ME area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the West Baldwin health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the West Baldwin ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Baldwin ME, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Baldwin Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Baldwin ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Brooke Baldwin was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where she attended The Westminster Schools, a private college preparatory school. She graduated with degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. She also studied at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City during her undergraduate years.
Baldwin began her career in 2001 at WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, Virginia, and later became the morning anchor at WOWK-TV in the Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia area. She later joined WTTG in Washington, D.C. as lead reporter for the 10 p.m. newscast.
Baldwin's documentary "To Catch a Killer" won a Silver World Medal for Best Investigative Report at the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in 2012. She was nominated for an Emmy for her coverage of the NYC chokehold death protests in wake of Eric Garner's death 2014.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program West Baldwin ME
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 Medical Assistant Classes Online. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in West Baldwin ME.
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