Certified Medical Assistant Schools Bethesda MD

How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Bethesda Maryland

Bethesda MD medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bethesda MD, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Bethesda MD nursing home patientThe job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Bethesda MD clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Maryland law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs

Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Bethesda MD 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 offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Online Medical Assistant Courses

woman attending medical assistant school online in Bethesda MDThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students 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 working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Bethesda MD area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Bethesda MD medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Bethesda MD medical assistant programsPrior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bethesda MD with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Bethesda MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma 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 elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Bethesda MD area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Bethesda medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Bethesda MD area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bethesda MD, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bethesda Maryland?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bethesda MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Bethesda, Maryland

Bethesda is an unincorporated, census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just northwest of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda.[2] In Aramaic, beth ḥesda (ܒܝܬ ܚܣܕܐ) means "House of Mercy" and in Hebrew, beit ḥesed (בית חסד‬) means "House of Kindness". The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, as are a number of corporate and government headquarters.

As an unincorporated community, Bethesda has no official boundaries. The United States Census Bureau defines a census-designated place named Bethesda whose center is located at 38°59′N 77°7′W / 38.983°N 77.117°W / 38.983; -77.117. The United States Geological Survey has defined Bethesda as an area whose center is at 38°58′50″N 77°6′2″W / 38.98056°N 77.10056°W / 38.98056; -77.10056, slightly different from the Census Bureau's definition. Other definitions are used by the Bethesda Urban Planning District, the United States Postal Service (which defines Bethesda to comprise the zip codes 20810, 20811, 20813, 20814, 20815, 20816, and 20817), and other organizations. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the community had a total population of 63,374. Most of Bethesda's residents are in Maryland Legislative District 16.

Bethesda is situated along a major thoroughfare that was originally the route of an ancient Native American trail. Henry Fleet (1602-1661), an English fur trader, was the first European to travel to the area, which he reached by sailing up the Potomac River. After staying for several years (1623–27) with the Piscataway tribe — variously as a guest or prisoner — he returned to England, spoke of potential riches in fur and gold, and won funding for another North American expedition.[3]

Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Program Bethesda MD

Bethesda MD medical assistant studentIt’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice 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 providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Schools. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to 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 Bethesda MD.

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