How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Marblehead Massachusetts
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Marblehead MA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Marblehead MA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Marblehead MA medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Massachusetts law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Marblehead MA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four 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 idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Marblehead MA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in regional Massachusetts healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Marblehead MA is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Marblehead MA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching Massachusetts schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Marblehead MA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Marblehead MA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally 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 closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Marblehead MA area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many Massachusetts medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Marblehead MA health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts in the Marblehead MA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator 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 teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program in the Marblehead MA area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Marblehead MA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Marblehead MA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure 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 regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Marblehead MA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask prospects is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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