How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Cambridge Maryland
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cambridge MD, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short 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 Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Cambridge MD hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Maryland law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Cambridge MD health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Cambridge MD area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Cambridge MD medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered 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
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Cambridge MD with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Cambridge MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Cambridge MD area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Cambridge healthcare 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 may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Cambridge MD area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication 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 offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cambridge MD, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Cambridge Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cambridge MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cambridge is a city in Dorchester County, Maryland, United States. The population was 12,326 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Dorchester County and the county's largest municipality. Cambridge is the fourth most populous city in Maryland's Eastern Shore region, after Salisbury, Elkton and Easton.
Settled by English colonists in 1684, Cambridge is one of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland. At the time of English colonization, the Algonquian-speaking Choptank Indians were already living along the river of the same name. During the colonial years, the English colonists developed farming on the Eastern Shore. The largest plantations were devoted first to tobacco, and then mixed farming. Planters bought enslaved Africans to farm tobacco and mixed farming. The town was a trading center for the area. The town pier was the center for slave trading for the region, a history documented well in historical markers throughout the town center. It was incorporated officially in 1793, and occupies part of the former Choptank Indian Reservation. Cambridge was named after the city and county in England. The town became a stop on the underground railroad, which had an extensive network of safe houses for slaves escaping to the north.
Cambridge developed food processing industries in the late 19th century, canning oysters, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Industrial growth in Cambridge was led by the Phillips Packing Company, which eventually grew to become the area's largest employer. The company won contracts with the Department of Defense during the First and Second World wars that aided its growth. At its peak, it employed as many as 10,000 workers. Changing tastes brought about a decline in business leading Phillips to downsize its operations. By the early 1960s the company ceased operations altogether. This led to widescale unemployment and added to the city's growing social problems.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Cambridge MD
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college 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 life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Cambridge MD.
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