How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training in Franklin Vermont
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Franklin VT, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Franklin VT clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing 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
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While Franklin VT medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Vermont law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Franklin VT employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided 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 liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Franklin VT employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in area Vermont medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Franklin VT is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Franklin VT or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating Vermont programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Franklin VT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Franklin VT area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating 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 ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the Franklin VT area schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Vermont medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Franklin VT medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask 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 large network of contacts in the Franklin VT area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program in the Franklin VT area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Franklin VT, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Franklin VT
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 objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Franklin VT.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask candidates is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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