Best Medical Assistant Programs Cheltenham MD

How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Cheltenham Maryland

Cheltenham MD medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cheltenham MD, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose 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 must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each 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 Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Cheltenham MD nursing home patientThe responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Cheltenham MD clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

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

Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maryland law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training Programs

Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Cheltenham MD health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics 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 offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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

woman attending medical assistant school online in Cheltenham MDThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Cheltenham MD area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Cheltenham MD medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Cheltenham MD medical assistant programsPrior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Cheltenham MD with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Cheltenham MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’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. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose 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 opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Cheltenham MD area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Cheltenham medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Cheltenham MD area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might 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 increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cheltenham MD, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out 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 Cheltenham Maryland?

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

Cheltenham, Maryland

The Cheltenham Youth Detention Center, a juvenile correctional facility, was founded in the 1870s as a "House of Reformation for Colored Children" by Baltimore merchant, banker, and philanthropist Enoch Pratt on his former farm property.[1] Cheltenham is also home to the Southern Maryland Regional Farmers Market, and the Cheltenham State Veterans Cemetery, along with many scenic farms and woods.

Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Cheltenham MD

Cheltenham MD medical assistant studentIt’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information 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 individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Best Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Cheltenham MD.

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