How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Waverly Virginia
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Waverly VA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Waverly VA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Virginia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Training Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Waverly VA 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 generally two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Waverly VA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Waverly VA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Waverly VA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Waverly VA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Waverly VA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Waverly medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Waverly VA 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might 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 furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Waverly VA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Waverly Virginia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Waverly VA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Popular legend has it that William Mahone (1826–1895), builder of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad (now Norfolk Southern), and his cultured wife, Otelia Butler Mahone (1837–1911), traveled along the newly completed Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad naming stations. Otelia was reading Ivanhoe, a book written by Sir Walter Scott. From his historical Scottish novels, Otelia chose the place names of Waverly, as well as Windsor and Wakefield. She tapped the Scottish Clan "McIvor" for the name of Ivor, a small town in neighboring Southampton County. When they could not agree, it is said that they invented a new name in honor of their dispute, which is how the tiny community of Disputanta a few miles west of Waverly was named. The N&P railroad was completed in 1858.
William Mahone became a Major General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, and later, a Senator in the United States Congress. A large portion of U.S. Route 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk is named in his honor.
Waverly is the second largest of the towns Gen. Mahone founded. Waverly has supplied the most state senators and delegate members to the Virginia General Assembly of any Virginia town under 3,000 people. They are Junius Edgar West, Delegate (1910–1912) and Senator (1912–1918); Thomas H. Howerton, Delegate (1912–1914); William O. Rogers, Senator (1924–1934); Garland "Peck" Gray, Senator (1942–1945 and 1948–1971); and Elmon T. Gray, Senator (1971–1992).
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant College Waverly VA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Waverly VA.
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