How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Yarmouth Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Yarmouth ME, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college 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 task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Yarmouth ME hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While Yarmouth ME medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Yarmouth ME employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Yarmouth ME employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to 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 attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in local Maine health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Yarmouth ME is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Yarmouth ME or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating Maine schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college 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 intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Yarmouth ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Yarmouth ME area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Yarmouth ME area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of Maine medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Yarmouth ME medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts in the Yarmouth ME area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Yarmouth ME area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Yarmouth ME, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College in Yarmouth ME
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Yarmouth ME.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask applicants is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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