How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Brandywine Maryland
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Brandywine MD, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Brandywine MD clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Maryland law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Brandywine MD health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially 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 alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Brandywine MD area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Brandywine MD medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Brandywine MD with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. 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 ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Brandywine MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Brandywine MD area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Brandywine health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Brandywine MD area and ask 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brandywine MD, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Brandywine Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Brandywine MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Brandywine is the name of an unincorporated area in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, that refers both to a census-designated place (CDP) and a zip code area which is much larger (20613), whose areas overlap. The population of Brandywine at the 2010 U.S. Census was 6,719 for the CDP, and the population of ZIP code 20613 was 11,860 in 2010.
The CDP and town are adjacent to the southern border of Prince George's County, lying east and west of busy Maryland Route 5/U.S. Route 301, which merge at Brandywine. Brandywine CDP is bordered by Accokeek to the west, Clinton and Rosaryville to the north, Croom to the northeast, and Cedarville to the southeast, all in Prince George's County. Waldorf in Charles County borders Brandywine to the south. The Brandywine zip code area encompasses parts of both counties and includes Cedarville and Baden.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,410 people, 478 households, and 377 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 320.4 people per square mile (123.7/km2). There were 501 housing units at an average density of 113.8/sq mi (44.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 56.24% White, 38.23% African American, 1.13% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.57% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.71% of the population.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant College Brandywine MD
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper 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 lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Ophthalmic Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Brandywine MD.
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