Medical Assistant Training Programs near Naples FL 34101

How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Naples Florida

Naples FL Medical Assistant completing internship trainingNow that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Naples FL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to 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 kind of credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Naples FL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health 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
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

While Naples FL medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Florida law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Training Courses and Certification

Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Naples FL employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational 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 often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Naples FL employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

CMA working with children in Naples FLThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in regional Florida health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Naples FL is furnished.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Naples FL or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing Florida programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Naples FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Naples FL area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Naples FL area schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of Florida medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Naples FL healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide 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 medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers in the Naples FL area to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Naples FL area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Naples FL, confirm 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 clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Best Medical Assistant College in Naples FL

It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Naples FL.

Why Did You Want to Become a CMA?

When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

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