How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in Glenn Dale Maryland
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Glenn Dale MD, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Glenn Dale MD hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While Glenn Dale MD medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Maryland law, some prefer to specialize in a specific 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 Training and Certification
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Glenn Dale MD employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Glenn Dale MD employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in local Maryland healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Glenn Dale MD is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Glenn Dale MD or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges 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 a number of additional considerations that you must examine when assessing Maryland schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you choose 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 need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Glenn Dale MD employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Glenn Dale MD area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Glenn Dale MD area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of Maryland medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Glenn Dale MD healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer 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 suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Glenn Dale MD area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Glenn Dale MD area to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Glenn Dale MD, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training in Glenn Dale MD
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether 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 right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Glenn Dale MD.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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