How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Cockeysville Maryland
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cockeysville MD, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean 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 factors as well. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few 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 role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Cockeysville MD hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maryland law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Cockeysville MD health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education 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 routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended 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, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Cockeysville MD area medical 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 may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed 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 idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Cockeysville MD medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Cockeysville MD with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Cockeysville MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn 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 select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn 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 assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get 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 get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Cockeysville MD area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Cockeysville medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Cockeysville MD area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cockeysville MD, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Cockeysville Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cockeysville MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cockeysville was named after the Cockey family who helped establish the town. Thomas Cockey (1676–1737) settled in Limestone Valley in 1725 at Taylor's Hall (an area now just north of Padonia Road and east of Interstate 83). Joshua Frederick Cockey (1765–1821) built one of the first homes in the area in 1798 and built the first commercial structure, a hotel, in 1810 in what would become the village of Cockeysville. His son, Judge Joshua F. Cockey (1800–1891), was a lifelong resident in the village and built the train station (what would be part of the Pennsylvania Railroad) and accompanying commercial buildings in the 1830s.
Cockeysville was the scene of some Civil War activity. Confederate soldiers pushed into the Baltimore area, intending to cut off the city and Washington from the north. On July 10, 1864, Confederate cavalry under General Bradley T. Johnson entered Cockeysville, destroying telegraph lines and track along the Northern Central Railway. They also burned the first bridge over the Gunpowder Falls, just beyond nearby Ashland.
After the war, Joshua F. Cockey III (1837–1920) founded the National Bank of Cockeysville (1891) and other commercial ventures in the community, as well as developing dwellings along the York Turnpike (now York Road) that made up the village of Cockeysville.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Cockeysville MD
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Registered Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Cockeysville MD.
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