How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training in Pitkin Colorado
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Pitkin CO, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Pitkin CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although Pitkin CO medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Colorado law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses and Certification
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Pitkin CO employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Pitkin CO employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in regional Colorado medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Pitkin CO is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Pitkin CO or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to examine when researching Colorado schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Pitkin CO employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Pitkin CO area medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask 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 evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Pitkin CO area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Colorado medical assistant programs offer internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Pitkin CO medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, 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 Pitkin CO area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program in the Pitkin CO area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Pitkin CO, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School in Pitkin CO
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Pitkin CO.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask applicants is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Some Cities in Colorado That May Be Of Interest