How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Classes in Bowdoinham Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Bowdoinham ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose 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 college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Bowdoinham ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although Bowdoinham ME medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Bowdoinham ME employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical 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 related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Bowdoinham ME employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to go to 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 additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in area Maine medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Bowdoinham ME is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Bowdoinham ME or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when researching Maine programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Bowdoinham ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Bowdoinham ME area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the program’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 school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose 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 one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the Bowdoinham ME area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Maine medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Bowdoinham ME medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Bowdoinham ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school in the Bowdoinham ME area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Bowdoinham ME, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Bowdoinham ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bowdoinham ME.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask prospects is "What made you pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt 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 candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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