How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Stockton Springs Maine
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Stockton Springs ME, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences 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 important issues as well. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Stockton Springs ME clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While Stockton Springs ME medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Maine law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Education and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Stockton Springs ME employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Stockton Springs ME employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in local Maine healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Stockton Springs ME is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing 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 Stockton Springs ME or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when evaluating Maine schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. First, 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 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Stockton Springs ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Stockton Springs ME area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out 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 college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Stockton Springs ME area colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Maine medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Stockton Springs ME healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Stockton Springs ME area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator 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 increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college in the Stockton Springs ME area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Stockton Springs ME, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College in Stockton Springs ME
It’s imperative to begin 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 pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. 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, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Stockton Springs ME.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary 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 have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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