How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in Indiana
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Indiana, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Indiana clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Indiana law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Indiana employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 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 option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Indiana employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option 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 option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in area Indiana medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when assessing Indiana programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Indiana employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Indiana medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the Indiana schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Indiana medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in Indiana to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college in Indiana to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Indiana, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course in Indiana
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays 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 pick is accredited by a recognized 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Indiana.