How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Classes in Lihue Hawaii
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Lihue HI, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate 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 issues as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Lihue HI hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Lihue HI medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Hawaii law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Lihue HI employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Lihue HI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in local Hawaii medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Lihue HI is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Lihue HI or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest 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 issues that you need to explore when assessing Hawaii schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Lihue HI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Lihue HI area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’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 college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Lihue HI area colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Hawaii medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Lihue HI health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts in the Lihue HI area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small 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 possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Lihue HI area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Lihue HI, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Program in Lihue HI
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision 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 picking the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lihue HI.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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