How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Woodstock Valley Connecticut
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Woodstock Valley CT, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Woodstock Valley CT clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Woodstock Valley CT health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Woodstock Valley CT area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Woodstock Valley CT medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Woodstock Valley CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you select 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 intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Woodstock Valley CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine 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 obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive 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 decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Woodstock Valley CT area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Woodstock Valley medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Woodstock Valley CT area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Woodstock Valley CT, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Woodstock Valley Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Woodstock Valley CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
In the mid-17th century, John Eliot, a Puritan missionary to the American Indians, established "praying towns" where Native Americans took up Christianity and were expected to renounce their religious ceremonies, traditional dress, and customs. One Praying town, called Wabaquasset (Senexet, Wabiquisset), six miles west of the Quinebaug River in present-day Woodstock, was the largest of the three northeastern Connecticut praying towns.
In 1675, when King Philip's War broke out, some of the town's Indians, (especially in the southern part of the town) sided with the Mohegans and the English while others sided with the Indians led by Philip, rallying to arms on what is now Curtis Island in present Holland, Massachusetts and Brimfield, Massachusetts. During the war, the Praying town became deserted, and the English with their Indian allies marched through Woodstock to present day Thompson in the summer of 1676 burning any crops or stored corn they could find.
In 1682, Massachusetts bought a tract of land, which included Woodstock, from the Mohegans. A group of 13 men from Roxbury, Massachusetts (home of the Pastorate of Woodstock's earlier visitor, John Eliot), settled the town in 1686 and named it New Roxbury. Judge Samuel Sewall suggested the town change its name to Woodstock in 1690, citing its proximity to Oxford, Massachusetts, and in 1749 the town became part of Connecticut. The present name is after Woodstock, in England.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Woodstock Valley CT
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Duties And Responsibilities. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Woodstock Valley CT.
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