How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near College Park Maryland
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near College Park MD, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications 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 schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the College Park MD clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. 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 physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners 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
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Maryland law, some choose 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of College Park MD health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for those 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 solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in College Park MD area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible College Park MD medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to College Park MD with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating 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 selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential College Park MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, 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 just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with College Park MD area medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the College Park healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the College Park 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 a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near College Park MD, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near College Park Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the College Park MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
College Park, Maryland
The City of College Park is in Prince George's County, Maryland and is about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the northeast border of Washington, D.C. The population was 30,413 at the 2010 United States Census. It is best known as the home of the University of Maryland, College Park, and since 1994 the city has also been home to the National Archives at College Park, a facility of the U.S. National Archives, as well as to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP).
College Park was developed beginning in 1889 near the Maryland Agricultural College (later the University of Maryland) and the College Station stop of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The suburb was incorporated in 1945 and included the subdivisions of College Park, Lakeland, Berwyn, Oak Spring, Branchville, Daniel's Park, and Hollywood.
The original College Park subdivision was first plotted in 1872 by Eugene Campbell. The area remained undeveloped and was re-platted in 1889 by John O. Johnson and Samuel Curriden, Washington real estate developers. The original 125-acre (0.51 km2) tract was divided into a grid-street pattern with long, narrow building lots, with a standard lot size of 50 feet (15 m) by 200 feet (61 m). College Park developed rapidly, catering to those who were seeking to escape the crowded Washington, D.C., as well as to a rapidly expanding staff of college faculty and employees.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant College College Park MD
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education Needed. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in College Park MD.
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