How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Course in Augusta Maine
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 Augusta ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Augusta ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Augusta ME medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect 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
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Augusta ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Augusta ME employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in area Maine healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Augusta ME is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Augusta ME or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching Maine programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Augusta ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Augusta ME area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’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 basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest 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 more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Augusta ME area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Maine medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Augusta ME healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, 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 Augusta ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Augusta ME area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Augusta ME, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School in Augusta ME
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Augusta ME.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask candidates is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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