How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Fairplay Colorado
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Fairplay CO, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Fairplay CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Fairplay CO medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Colorado law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training and Certification
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Fairplay CO employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, 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 normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Fairplay CO employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained 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 sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in area Colorado health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Fairplay CO is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Fairplay CO or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when researching Colorado schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Fairplay CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Fairplay CO area medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, verify that the Fairplay CO area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Colorado medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Fairplay CO medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges 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 students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Fairplay CO area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program in the Fairplay CO area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program 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 have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Fairplay CO, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Fairplay CO
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fairplay CO.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Some Cities in Colorado That May Be Of Interest