How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Ashton Maryland
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ashton MD, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Ashton MD hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based 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 providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Maryland law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Ashton MD health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Ashton MD area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Ashton MD medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier 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 want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ashton MD with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Ashton MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Ashton MD area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Ashton medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Ashton MD area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere 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 to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ashton MD, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ashton Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ashton MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Jennifer Lee Ashton (born April 23, 1969) is a physician, author, and television correspondent. She is chief health and medical editor and chief medical correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America, chief women's health correspondent for The Dr. Oz Show, and a columnist for Cosmopolitan Magazine. She is also a frequent guest speaker and moderator for events raising awareness of women's health issues.
Ashton was born in California to Oscar Garfein, a New York City cardiologist, and Dorothy Garfein, a registered nurse. Her brother, Evan Garfein, is chief of plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery at Montefiore Hospital in New York City.
Ashton has authored numerous magazine articles and contributed to a health blog for The Record of Bergen, New Jersey. In addition, she has written three books: The Body Scoop for Girls (2009), which educates teenage girls on the topic of puberty; Your Body Beautiful (2012), which addresses health and wellness issues in middle-aged women; and Eat This When You're Expecting, Not That (2016), in which she outlines a diet designed specifically for pregnant women.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Ashton MD
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal 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 acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Is A Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Ashton MD.
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