How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Cos Cob Connecticut
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Cos Cob CT, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Cos Cob CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although Cos Cob CT medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Cos Cob CT employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Cos Cob CT employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to go to 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, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in local Connecticut health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Cos Cob CT is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Cos Cob CT or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing Connecticut schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Cos Cob CT 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 Cos Cob CT area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the Cos Cob CT area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Connecticut medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Cos Cob CT medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Cos Cob CT area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Cos Cob CT area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Cos Cob CT, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Cos Cob CT
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Cos Cob CT.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask candidates is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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