How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Shelbyville Kentucky
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Shelbyville KY, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Shelbyville KY clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals 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
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Shelbyville KY medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Kentucky law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Shelbyville KY employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Shelbyville KY employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in area Kentucky medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Shelbyville KY is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Shelbyville KY or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when assessing Kentucky programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Shelbyville KY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Shelbyville KY area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically 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, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Shelbyville KY area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Kentucky medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Shelbyville KY medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Shelbyville KY area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Shelbyville KY 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 school 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Shelbyville KY, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Shelbyville KY
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 medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Shelbyville KY.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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