How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Old Greenwich Connecticut
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Old Greenwich CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Old Greenwich CT clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can 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
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although Old Greenwich CT medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Old Greenwich CT employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Old Greenwich CT employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, 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.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in area Connecticut healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Old Greenwich CT is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Old Greenwich CT or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when assessing Connecticut schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Old Greenwich CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Old Greenwich CT area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Old Greenwich CT area colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Connecticut medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Old Greenwich CT medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts in the Old Greenwich CT area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Old Greenwich CT area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Old Greenwich CT, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Old Greenwich CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if 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 get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate 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 online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Old Greenwich CT.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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