How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in Lake Station Indiana
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Lake Station IN, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Lake Station IN hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Lake Station IN medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Indiana law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Lake Station IN employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lake Station IN employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in regional Indiana medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Lake Station IN is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Lake Station IN or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to examine when researching Indiana programs. To help you with that task, below 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 great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Lake Station IN 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 Lake Station IN area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose 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 means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Lake Station IN area schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Indiana medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Lake Station IN medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Lake Station IN area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Lake Station IN area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Lake Station IN, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training in Lake Station IN
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lake Station IN.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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