How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in Bar Harbor Maine
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Bar Harbor ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of future 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Bar Harbor ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although Bar Harbor ME medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine 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
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Bar Harbor ME employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Bar Harbor ME employers just 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in area Maine medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Bar Harbor ME is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Bar Harbor ME or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when evaluating Maine schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Bar Harbor ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Bar Harbor ME area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn 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 assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Bar Harbor ME area schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Maine medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Bar Harbor ME healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide 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 an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Bar Harbor ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Bar Harbor ME area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Bar Harbor ME, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have 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 because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College in Bar Harbor ME
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on 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 online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bar Harbor ME.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask applicants is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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