How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Chevy Chase Maryland
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Chevy Chase MD, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate 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 issues also. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Chevy Chase MD hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Maryland law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Chevy Chase 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 essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Chevy Chase MD area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Chevy Chase MD medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Chevy Chase MD with the lowest 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 explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Chevy Chase MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Chevy Chase MD area medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Chevy Chase medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Chevy Chase MD area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Chevy Chase MD, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Chevy Chase Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Chevy Chase MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Chevy Chase is the name of both a town and an unincorporated census-designated place (Chevy Chase (CDP), Maryland) that straddle the northwest border of Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. Several settlements in the same area of Montgomery County and one neighborhood of Washington, D.C. include "Chevy Chase" in their names. These villages, the town, and the CDP share a common history and together form a larger community colloquially referred to as "Chevy Chase".
Primarily a residential suburb, Chevy Chase adjoins Friendship Heights, a popular shopping district. It includes the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, which hosts the National Science Bowl annually in either late April or early May.
The name "Chevy Chase" is derived from "Cheivy Chace", the name of the land patented to Colonel Joseph Belt from Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore on July 10, 1725. It has historic associations to a 1388 battle between Lord Percy of England and Earl Douglas of Scotland, the subject of the ballad entitled "The Ballad of Chevy Chase". At issue in this "chevauchée" (a French word describing a border raid) were hunting grounds or a "chace" in the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland and Otterburn.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Chevy Chase MD
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right 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 lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Curriculum. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Chevy Chase MD.
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