How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Garrett Park Maryland
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Garrett Park MD, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Garrett Park MD hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While Garrett Park MD medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Maryland law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Garrett Park MD employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way 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 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain 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 extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Garrett Park MD employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in regional Maryland healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Garrett Park MD is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Garrett Park MD or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when evaluating Maryland programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Garrett Park MD employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Garrett Park MD area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Garrett Park MD area colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Maryland medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Garrett Park MD healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Garrett Park MD area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college in the Garrett Park MD area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Garrett Park MD, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program in Garrett Park MD
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Garrett Park MD.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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