How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in Plainfield Connecticut
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Plainfield CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Plainfield CT clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Plainfield CT medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Plainfield CT employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Plainfield CT employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in local Connecticut health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Plainfield CT is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Plainfield CT or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing Connecticut programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Plainfield CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Plainfield CT area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Plainfield CT area colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Connecticut medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Plainfield CT healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer 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 health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the Plainfield CT area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program in the Plainfield CT area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Plainfield CT, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School in Plainfield CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make 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 gratifying career as a medical assistant in Plainfield CT.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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