How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Frankfort Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Frankfort ME, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is ensure that the Frankfort ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Frankfort ME medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Maine law, some elect 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Frankfort ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Frankfort ME employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered 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 numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who may 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 to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in regional Maine medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Frankfort ME is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Frankfort ME or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing Maine schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Frankfort ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Frankfort ME area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting 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 decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Frankfort ME area schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Maine medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Frankfort ME health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Frankfort ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might 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 prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college in the Frankfort ME area to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Frankfort ME, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships 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.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Frankfort ME
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Frankfort ME.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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