How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Zephyrhills Florida
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Zephyrhills FL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Zephyrhills FL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Florida law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Zephyrhills FL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Zephyrhills FL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online classes 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 mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Zephyrhills FL medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Zephyrhills FL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Zephyrhills FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Zephyrhills FL area health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Zephyrhills medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Zephyrhills FL 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 an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Zephyrhills FL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Zephyrhills Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Zephyrhills FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Zephyrhills is a city in Pasco County, Florida, United States. The population was estimated at 14,381 in the 2014 census. It is a suburb of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Statistical Area. Zephyrhills is also known as the headquarters of the Zephyrhills bottled water company and is a member of Tree City USA.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,833 people and 2,986 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,728.2 inhabitants per square mile (667.1/km²). There were 6,167 housing units at an average density of 983.8 per square mile (379.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.63% White, 2.79% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.60% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.03% of the population.
There were 4,944 households out of which 20.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 46.5% were married couples living with others, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.63.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Zephyrhills FL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Curriculum. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Zephyrhills FL.
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