How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Eliot Maine
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Eliot ME, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may 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 complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Eliot ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although Eliot ME medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses and Certification
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Eliot ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed 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 normally two year programs available at junior and community 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 courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Eliot ME employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly 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 exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in area Maine health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Eliot ME is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Eliot ME or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating Maine schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Eliot ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Eliot ME area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? 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 shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Eliot ME area colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of Maine medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Eliot ME healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts in the Eliot ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college in the Eliot ME area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Eliot ME, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Eliot ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Eliot ME.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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