How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Bowie Maryland
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bowie MD, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Bowie MD clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type 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 nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Maryland law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Bowie MD health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices 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 a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Bowie MD area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Bowie MD medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind 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 comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Bowie MD with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Bowie MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out 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 of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Bowie MD area health care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Bowie healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bowie MD area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction 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 instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bowie MD, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, 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 Bowie Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bowie MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bowie /ˈbuːi/ is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 U.S. Census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the U.S. state of Maryland. In 2014 CNN Money ranked Bowie 28th in its Best Places to Live in America list.
The city of Bowie owes its existence to the railway. In 1853, Colonel William Duckett Bowie obtained a charter from the Maryland legislature to construct a rail line into Southern Maryland. In 1869, the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company began the construction of a railroad from Baltimore to Southern Maryland, terminating in Pope's Creek. The area had already been dotted with small farms and large tobacco plantations in an economy based on agriculture and slavery. In 1870, Ben Plumb, a land speculator and developer, sold building lots around the railroad junction and named the settlement Huntington City. By 1872, the line was completed, together with a "spur" to Washington, D.C. and the entire line through Southern Maryland was completed in 1873.
In 1880, Huntington City was rechartered as Bowie, named for Colonel Bowie's son and business partner Oden Bowie, the former Governor of Maryland and then-president of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad. In the early days the land was subdivided by developers into more than 500 residential building lots, to create a large town site at a junction of the Baltimore and Potomac's main line to southern Maryland, and the branch line to Washington, D.C.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Bowie MD
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in 6 Month Program For Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bowie MD.
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