How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Castine Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Castine ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Castine ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though Castine ME medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Castine ME employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma 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 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 an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Castine ME employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in local Maine medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Castine ME is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Castine ME or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges 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 a number of additional factors that you should look at when evaluating Maine schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Castine ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Castine ME area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Castine ME area schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many Maine medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Castine ME medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out 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 signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Castine ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Castine ME area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Castine ME, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will 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 Right Medical Assistant Training in Castine ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Castine ME.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask candidates is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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