How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Erie Colorado
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Erie CO, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training 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 Erie CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may 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 confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although Erie CO medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Colorado law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Training Courses and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Erie CO employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain 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 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 practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Erie CO employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in local Colorado medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Erie CO is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Erie CO or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when researching Colorado programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Erie CO 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 Erie CO area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask 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 assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Erie CO area colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Colorado medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Erie CO healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Erie CO area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Erie CO area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Erie CO, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Erie CO
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Erie CO.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask prospects is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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