How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Kittredge Colorado
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Kittredge CO, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Kittredge CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Kittredge CO medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Colorado law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Kittredge CO employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some 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 option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Kittredge CO employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in regional Colorado health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Kittredge CO is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Kittredge CO or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating Colorado schools. To assist you with that task, below 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 School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Kittredge CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Kittredge CO area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Kittredge CO area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Colorado medical assistant programs offer internship programs with local health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Kittredge CO health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Kittredge CO 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 likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program in the Kittredge CO area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Kittredge CO, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College in Kittredge CO
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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 gratifying career as a medical assistant in Kittredge CO.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask candidates is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Some Cities in Colorado That May Be Of Interest