How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Lansing Iowa
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Lansing IA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Lansing IA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While Lansing IA medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Iowa law, some choose to specialize in a specific 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
Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Lansing IA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical 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, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lansing IA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably 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, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in local Iowa healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Lansing IA is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Lansing IA or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when assessing Iowa schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lansing IA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Lansing IA area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Lansing IA area schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Iowa medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Lansing IA healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Lansing IA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator 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 offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school in the Lansing IA area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Lansing IA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training in Lansing IA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 choosing the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lansing IA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What made you pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Some Cities in Iowa That May Be Of Interest