How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Crisfield Maryland
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Crisfield MD, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Crisfield MD clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Crisfield MD health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Crisfield MD area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed 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 option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Crisfield MD medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Crisfield MD with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Crisfield MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Crisfield MD area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Crisfield healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Crisfield MD area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator 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 increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Crisfield MD, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Crisfield Maryland?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Crisfield MD area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Crisfield is a city in Somerset County, Maryland, United States, located on the Tangier Sound, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The population was 2,726 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. Crisfield has the distinction of being the southernmost incorporated city in Maryland.
The site of today's Crisfield was initially a small fishing village called Annemessex Neck. During European colonization, it was renamed Somers Cove, after Benjamin Summers. When the business potential for seafood was discovered, John W. Crisfield decided to bring the Pennsylvania Railroad to Crisfield, and the quiet fishing town grew. Crisfield is now known as the "Seafood Capital of the World". The city's success was so great that the train soot and oyster shells prompted the extension of the city's land into the marshes. City residents often claim that the downtown area is literally built atop oyster shells.
Crisfield began to slip into decline along with the declining health of the Chesapeake Bay, prompting a "strategic revitalization plan" to address the city's future needs. Currently, Crisfield is largely a tourist destination. It hosts many annual events and festivals, the most prominent of which is the National Hard Crab Derby. Crisfield is also a major gateway to Smith Island and Tangier Island.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Crisfield MD
It’s imperative 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 practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Accreditation. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Crisfield MD.
More Medical Locations in Maryland
Business Results 1 - 10 of 5