How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Robbinston Maine
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Robbinston ME, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Robbinston 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 a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although Robbinston ME medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified 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
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Robbinston ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Robbinston ME employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in local Maine medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Robbinston ME is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Robbinston ME or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs. As we covered 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 cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching 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 final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan 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 Robbinston ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Robbinston ME area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Robbinston ME area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous 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 can also help students develop relationships within the Robbinston ME healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Robbinston ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Robbinston ME area to see what the teaching environment is like and just 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 college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Robbinston ME, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Robbinston ME
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Robbinston ME.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask applicants is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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