How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in Canton Michigan
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Canton MI, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Canton MI hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size 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 medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Canton MI medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Michigan law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training Courses and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Canton MI employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Canton MI employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 examination, a candidate 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 discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in local Michigan health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Canton MI is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Canton MI or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing Michigan programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training 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 acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Canton MI employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Canton MI area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Canton MI area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Michigan medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Canton MI healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide 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 health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Canton MI area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Canton MI area to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Canton MI, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training in Canton MI
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Canton MI.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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