How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Course in Nashville Tennessee
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Nashville TN, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 important factors also. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short 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 Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Nashville TN 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Nashville TN medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Tennessee law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training Programs and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Nashville TN employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Nashville TN employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in local Tennessee medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Nashville TN is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Nashville TN or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when evaluating Tennessee schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. 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, many potential Nashville TN employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Nashville TN area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Nashville TN area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Tennessee medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Nashville TN medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher 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 in the Nashville TN area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school in the Nashville TN area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Nashville TN, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School in Nashville TN
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important 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 on-campus or online school, don’t forget 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 subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Nashville TN.
Why Did You Choose to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Some Cities in Tennessee That May Be Of Interest