How to Choose a Medical Assistant School in Clinton Michigan
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Clinton MI, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by researching 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Clinton MI hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Clinton MI medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Michigan law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Clinton MI employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Clinton MI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice 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 alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in local Michigan healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Clinton MI is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Clinton MI or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing Michigan schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Clinton MI employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Clinton MI area medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating 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 just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Clinton MI area schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Michigan medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Clinton MI medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job may be a challenging undertaking 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 program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers in the Clinton MI area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program in the Clinton MI area to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Clinton MI, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships 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 issues.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School in Clinton MI
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is 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 get the right information 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 individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, 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 intend 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Clinton MI.
Why Did You Want to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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