How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Capitol Heights Maryland
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Capitol Heights MD, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Capitol Heights MD hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities 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 specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Maryland law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Capitol Heights MD health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 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 normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered 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 training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Capitol Heights MD area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve 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 a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Capitol Heights MD medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Capitol Heights MD with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you choose 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 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Capitol Heights MD employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Capitol Heights MD area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Capitol Heights health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Capitol Heights MD area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program 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 large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to observe 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 full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Capitol Heights MD, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Capitol Heights Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Capitol Heights MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Capitol Heights, Maryland
Capitol Heights is a town in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 4,337 at the 2010 census. Development around the Capitol Heights Metro station has medical facilities and eateries to support the community. The Washington Redskins football stadium is just to the east of Capitol Heights, near the Capital Beltway (I-95/495) and Kingdom Square (formerly Hampton Mall) shopping center which features a hotel and eateries.
In 1904, Washington, D.C., was growing by leaps and bounds. The overcrowding and the improved public transportation made the idea of living on the outskirts increasingly appealing to people looking for housing. Recognizing the opportunity, Baltimore resident Otway B. Zantzinger acquired 400 hilly acres just beyond the eastern corner of the District of Columbia. He divided the tract into 4,000 lots and began to sell them at prices ranging from $20 to $150 each. He advertised a picturesque view of Washington, D.C., a proposed electric railway, drinking water from crystal-clear springs, nothing down and a dollar a month, no interest, no landlords, and, in the custom and vernacular of the times, "no colored people." Many buyers bought two lots in this haven that was to become Capitol Heights.
While awaiting their "proposed electric railway," commuters to the city could walk about a mile (often through mud) to the District Line station at what is now Seat Pleasant and board a rail car into Washington, DC.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Capitol Heights MD
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Training. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Capitol Heights MD.
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