How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Pickford Michigan
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Pickford MI, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Pickford MI clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though Pickford MI medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Michigan law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Pickford MI employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain 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 comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Pickford MI employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in local Michigan medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Pickford MI is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Pickford MI or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when assessing Michigan programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Pickford MI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Pickford MI area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Pickford MI area colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many Michigan medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Pickford MI healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college 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 large network of employers in the Pickford MI area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Pickford MI area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Pickford MI, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Pickford MI
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided 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 selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Pickford MI.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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