How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Ridgway Colorado
Once you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ridgway CO, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Ridgway CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care 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 facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Colorado law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Ridgway CO health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Ridgway CO area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Ridgway CO medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Ridgway CO with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either 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 previously mentioned, a number of potential Ridgway CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Ridgway CO area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Ridgway health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Ridgway CO area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just 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 imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Ridgway CO, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ridgway Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ridgway CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Ridgway, coined Gateway to the San Juans, is a Home Rule Municipality in Ouray County, in the southwestern portion of the U.S. State of Colorado. The town is a former railroad stop on the Uncompaghre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.
Steep forested mountains and cliffs surround Ridgway on the south, east, and northeast. The Uncompahgre River runs through the town and flows into the Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, to the north. Dallas Creek also flows from the south-west and forms a confluence with the Uncompahgre before entering the reservoir. There is a notable wildlife presence — mountain lions, badgers, deer, elk, bears, coyotes, wild turkey, and bald eagles are indigenous to the area. The regions bald eagles nest in the cottonwoods along the river and are a common sight in the late fall.
Ridgway and the surrounding area have featured predominantly in pop culture. Most notably the area is the setting of John Wayne's western movie True Grit, and others including How the West Was Won and Tribute to a Bad Man. Ridgway has the only stoplight in Ouray County, at the intersection of Highways 550 and 62.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Ridgway CO
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Technical School. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Ridgway CO.
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