How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near West Kennebunk Maine
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Kennebunk ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the West Kennebunk ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many West Kennebunk ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in West Kennebunk ME area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible West Kennebunk ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to West Kennebunk ME with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential West Kennebunk ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. 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 naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with West Kennebunk ME area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the West Kennebunk healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the West Kennebunk ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Kennebunk ME, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Kennebunk Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Kennebunk ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Kennebunk, Maine
West Kennebunk is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Kennebunk in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,176 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the 2000 Census, there were 809 people, 316 households, and 223 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 233.1 people per square mile (90.0/km²). There were 332 housing units at an average density of 95.7/sq mi (36.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.90% White, 0.12% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.
There were 316 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.99.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course West Kennebunk ME
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing 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, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Pediatric Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in West Kennebunk ME.
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