How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Westbrook Maine
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Westbrook ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Westbrook ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Westbrook ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Westbrook ME area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Westbrook ME medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Westbrook ME with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Westbrook ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Westbrook ME area health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Westbrook medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Westbrook ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westbrook ME, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Westbrook Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Westbrook ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Westbrook is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States and a suburb of Portland. The population was 17,494 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.
Originally known as Saccarappa after Saccarappa Falls on the Presumpscot River, it was a part of Falmouth until February 14, 1814, when it was set off and incorporated as Stroudwater. It soon changed its name to Westbrook after Colonel Thomas Westbrook, a commander during Father Rale's War and King's mast agent who was an early settler and mill operator. In 1871, Saccarappa amicably split into two municipalities; the current Westbrook and Deering, which was then annexed by Portland in 1898. In 1891, Westbrook was incorporated as a city.
Saccarappa Falls and Congin Falls provided water power for early mills within the city. In 1829, a sawmill was built at the former which made the mill town noted for its lumber. Other industries followed, manufacturing grain bags, machinery and water wheels, carriage and harness, boots, shoes and moccasins, tinware, leather board, bricks, wooden boxes, box shook, meal and flour. The Portland Manufacturing Company built a cotton textile mill at Saccarappa Falls for making "sheetings, stripes and ducks." A paper mill was built at Cumberland Mills, once an Indian planting ground known as Ammoncongin. By 1859, it produced 1,000 tons of paper annually. In 1867, the factory's name would change to the S. D. Warren Paper Mill.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College Westbrook ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of 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 choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Becoming A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Westbrook ME.
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