How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Winterport Maine
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Winterport ME, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few 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 offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Winterport ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Winterport ME health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Winterport ME area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Winterport ME medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Winterport 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 issues that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Winterport ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining 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, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Winterport ME area medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Winterport medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Winterport ME area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winterport ME, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Winterport Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Winterport ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
First settled in 1766 as part of Frankfort, it was set off and incorporated on March 12, 1860. It was named Winterport because of its fine harbor on the Penobscot River estuary, which generally remained ice free, and so became a busy local terminus for trade and shipping during winter months. When the upper Penobscot River froze, commodities like flour were hauled in large quantities from here to Bangor.
In 1841, Theophilus Cushing opened a large steam mill which manufactured 11,000,000 feet of lumber annually. It also made sugar box shooks, lath, clapboard, and soap and candle boxes. The town had two cooperage factories. Other industries produced harnesses, cheese and butter, and men's vests. Until the Panic of 1857, Winterport was a shipbuilding center. But the principal business for most of the town was agriculture.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.05 square miles (95.96 km2), of which, 35.52 square miles (92.00 km2) of it is land and 1.53 square miles (3.96 km2) is water. Drained by the Marsh River, Winterport is bounded by the Penobscot River.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Winterport ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant Exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Winterport ME.
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