How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in Wasilla Alaska
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Wasilla AK, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Wasilla AK hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Wasilla AK medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Alaska 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Wasilla AK employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often 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 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Wasilla AK employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in local Alaska healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Wasilla AK is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Wasilla AK or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching Alaska programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Wasilla AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Wasilla AK area medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the Wasilla AK area schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of Alaska medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Wasilla AK health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Wasilla AK area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small 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 monitor a few classes before choosing a school in the Wasilla AK area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Wasilla AK, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Wasilla AK
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info 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 upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Wasilla AK.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Alaska That May Be Of Interest