How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Neptune Beach Florida
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Neptune Beach FL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of future students start 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Neptune Beach FL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions 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 facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Neptune Beach FL medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Florida law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Neptune Beach 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 two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Neptune Beach FL employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in regional Florida health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Neptune Beach FL is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Neptune Beach FL or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when assessing Florida 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 final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Neptune Beach FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Neptune Beach FL area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Neptune Beach FL area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Florida medical assistant programs offer internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Neptune Beach FL medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Neptune Beach FL area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Neptune Beach FL area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Neptune Beach FL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training in Neptune Beach FL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Neptune Beach FL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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