How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in North Haven Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in North Haven ME, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the North Haven ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical 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 at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although North Haven ME medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many North Haven ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical 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 classes. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential North Haven ME employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in area Maine healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in North Haven ME is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near North Haven ME or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should explore when evaluating Maine schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective North Haven ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited North Haven ME area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’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 college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the North Haven ME area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Maine medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the North Haven ME medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the North Haven ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator 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 offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a school in the North Haven ME area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in North Haven ME, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in North Haven ME
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in North Haven ME.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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