How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in Shreveport Louisiana
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Shreveport LA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each 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 credentials and training that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Shreveport LA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Shreveport LA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Louisiana law, some elect 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Shreveport LA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade 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 training. They often 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 four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Shreveport LA employers simply will not employ 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate 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 previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra 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 bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in local Louisiana medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Shreveport LA is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Shreveport LA or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when assessing Louisiana schools. To assist you with that task, following 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 College Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Shreveport LA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Shreveport LA area medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect 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. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Shreveport LA area colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Louisiana medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Shreveport LA health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial 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 evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers in the Shreveport LA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Shreveport LA area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Shreveport LA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training in Shreveport LA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Shreveport LA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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