How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Bridgton Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Bridgton ME, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Bridgton ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although Bridgton ME medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Courses and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bridgton ME employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with 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 courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Bridgton ME employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in regional Maine medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Bridgton ME is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Bridgton ME or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when assessing Maine schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Bridgton ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Bridgton ME area medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the Bridgton ME area schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Maine medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Bridgton ME medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Bridgton ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school in the Bridgton ME area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Bridgton ME, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in Bridgton ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Bridgton ME.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask prospects is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Some Cities in Maine That May Be Of Interest