How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training in Franklin Massachusetts
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Franklin MA, 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 ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Franklin MA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Franklin MA medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Massachusetts law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Programs and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Franklin MA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 option 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 comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Franklin MA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals 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 option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in area Massachusetts healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Franklin MA is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Franklin MA or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when researching Massachusetts programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school 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 plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Franklin MA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Franklin MA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Franklin MA area colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Massachusetts medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Franklin MA 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 challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, 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 Franklin MA area 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. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Franklin MA area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Franklin MA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program in Franklin MA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Franklin MA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask prospects is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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