Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Medical Assistant Education Requirements Westfield PA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Westfield Pennsylvania

Westfield PA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Westfield PA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are available.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Westfield PA nursing home patientThe role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Westfield PA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can 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 can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Supplying basic support during exams and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Courses

In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Westfield PA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical 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

woman attending medical assistant school online in Westfield PAThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Westfield PA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Westfield PA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Westfield PA medical assistant programsPrior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Westfield PA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Westfield PA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Westfield PA area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Westfield medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Westfield PA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching environment 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 to work full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Westfield PA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out 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 Westfield Pennsylvania?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Westfield PA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Westfield, Pennsylvania

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 1,190 people, 495 households, and 330 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,148.8 people per square mile (441.8/km²). There were 551 housing units at an average density of 531.9 per square mile (204.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.56% White, 1.01% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.

There were 495 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the borough the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.2 males.

Choose the Best Medical Assistant School Westfield PA

Westfield PA medical assistant studentIt’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning 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 selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education Requirements. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Westfield PA.

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