How to Pick a Medical Assistant Classes in Hickory Corners Michigan
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Hickory Corners MI, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right 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 location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Hickory Corners MI hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though Hickory Corners MI medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Michigan law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Hickory Corners MI employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered 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 often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Hickory Corners MI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps 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 exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative 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 Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in regional Michigan healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Hickory Corners MI is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Hickory Corners MI or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating Michigan programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Hickory Corners MI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Hickory Corners MI area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Hickory Corners MI area schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Michigan medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Hickory Corners MI health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Hickory Corners MI area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college in the Hickory Corners MI area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Hickory Corners MI, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program in Hickory Corners MI
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hickory Corners MI.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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