How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Classes in Key Largo Florida
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Key Largo FL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective 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 cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Key Largo FL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While Key Largo FL medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Florida law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Key Largo FL employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 an excellent choice for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Key Largo FL employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in local Florida health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Key Largo FL is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Key Largo FL or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must examine when researching Florida schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program 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 intend to become certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Key Largo FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Key Largo FL area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out 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 select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Key Largo FL area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Florida medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Key Largo FL healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Key Largo FL area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program in the Key Largo FL area to witness what the teaching environment 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 important that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Key Largo FL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Key Largo FL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Key Largo FL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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