How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Pembroke Maine
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Pembroke ME, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Pembroke ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though Pembroke ME medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Pembroke ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to 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 training. They usually have a practical component 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Pembroke ME employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including 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 accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in regional Maine healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Pembroke ME is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Pembroke ME or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating Maine programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Pembroke ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Pembroke ME area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing 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 concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Pembroke ME area colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Maine medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Pembroke ME healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers in the Pembroke ME area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Pembroke ME area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Pembroke ME, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Pembroke ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed 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 regardless 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Pembroke ME.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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