How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Plaquemine Louisiana
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Plaquemine LA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of 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 cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must 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 included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Plaquemine LA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. 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 providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Plaquemine LA medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Louisiana law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Plaquemine LA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually 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 related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Plaquemine LA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit 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 offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for those 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 choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in local Louisiana healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Plaquemine LA is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Plaquemine LA or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when researching Louisiana programs. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Plaquemine LA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Plaquemine LA area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the Plaquemine LA area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Louisiana medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Plaquemine LA medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Plaquemine LA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Plaquemine LA 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 to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Plaquemine LA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program in Plaquemine LA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate 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 must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose 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 type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Plaquemine LA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask prospects is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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