How to Select a Medical Assistant Course in Bethel Connecticut
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Bethel CT, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Bethel CT clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Bethel CT medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Education and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bethel CT employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Bethel CT employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in area Connecticut health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Bethel CT is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Bethel CT or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating Connecticut schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 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 exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Bethel CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Bethel CT area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, 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 compare 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 lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Bethel CT area schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Connecticut medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Bethel CT medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers in the Bethel CT area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school in the Bethel CT area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Bethel CT, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Bethel CT
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bethel CT.
Why Did You Choose to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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