How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Galena Kansas
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Galena KS, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Galena KS clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although Galena KS medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Kansas law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Galena KS employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Galena KS employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended 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, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in area Kansas medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Galena KS is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program options, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Galena KS or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when assessing Kansas schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Galena KS employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Galena KS area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Galena KS area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Kansas medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Galena KS health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools 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 students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Galena KS area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Galena KS area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Galena KS, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School in Galena KS
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate 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 online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Galena KS.
Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask prospects is "What drove you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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