How to Select a Medical Assistant Course in Cape Canaveral Florida
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Cape Canaveral FL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Cape Canaveral FL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While Cape Canaveral FL medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Florida law, some elect 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Cape Canaveral FL employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Cape Canaveral FL employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in area Florida health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Cape Canaveral FL is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Cape Canaveral FL or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing Florida schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive 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 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Cape Canaveral FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Cape Canaveral FL area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes 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 choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Cape Canaveral FL area colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Florida medical assistant schools offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Cape Canaveral FL healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Cape Canaveral FL area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program in the Cape Canaveral FL area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Cape Canaveral FL, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College in Cape Canaveral FL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to 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 discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Cape Canaveral FL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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