Medical Assistant Training Programs near Norfolk MA 02056

How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Norfolk Massachusetts

Norfolk MA Medical Assistant completing internship trainingOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Norfolk MA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Norfolk MA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. 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
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

Although Norfolk MA medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Massachusetts law, some opt 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 Programs and Certification

In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Norfolk MA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 option for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Norfolk MA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Programs

CMA working with children in Norfolk MAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have 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 working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in local Massachusetts healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Norfolk MA is provided.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Norfolk MA or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest 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 examine when evaluating Massachusetts schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Norfolk MA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Norfolk MA area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Norfolk MA area schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Sponsored? Many Massachusetts medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Norfolk MA medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Norfolk MA area to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Norfolk MA area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Norfolk MA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may 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 responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training in Norfolk MA

It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Norfolk MA.

Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?

When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What made you select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.

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