Medical Assistant Training Programs in Massachusetts

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Medical Assistant completing internship trainingOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Massachusetts, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of Medical Assistants

The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Massachusetts clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Massachusetts 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Programs and Certification

In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Massachusetts employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 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 training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Massachusetts employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Colleges

CMA working with children in MassachusettsThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended 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, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in area Massachusetts healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when researching Massachusetts schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Massachusetts employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Massachusetts medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready 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 instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Massachusetts schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? A large number of Massachusetts medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high 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 broad network of contacts in Massachusetts to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a school in Massachusetts to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Massachusetts, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Massachusetts

It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare 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 prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure 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 plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Massachusetts.

Some Cities in Massachusetts That May Be Of Interest

  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Charlton MA 01507
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Essex MA 01929
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Medfield MA 02052
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Haverhill MA 01830
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Millville MA 01529
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Lynn MA 01901
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Franklin MA 02038
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Lancaster MA 01523
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Petersham MA 01366
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Williamstown MA 01267