How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Shelbyville Indiana
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Shelbyville IN, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 factors as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Shelbyville IN hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners 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:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Shelbyville IN medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Indiana 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 Education and Certification
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Shelbyville 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 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 generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as 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 classes. They usually have a clinical component involving 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 requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Shelbyville IN employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in local Indiana medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Shelbyville IN is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing 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 Shelbyville IN or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating Indiana programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Shelbyville IN employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Shelbyville IN area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn 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 obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Shelbyville IN area schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Indiana medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Shelbyville IN healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help 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 indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the Shelbyville IN area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Shelbyville IN area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Shelbyville IN, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Course in Shelbyville IN
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 rewarding career as a medical assistant in Shelbyville IN.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask prospects is "What made you pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Indiana That May Be Of Interest