How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in Wayland Michigan
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Wayland MI, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some 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 Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Wayland MI clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although Wayland MI medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Michigan law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Wayland MI employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving 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 idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Wayland MI employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in area Michigan healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the best option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Wayland MI is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Wayland MI or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when assessing Michigan programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Wayland MI employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Wayland MI area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Wayland MI area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Michigan medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Wayland MI health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools 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 graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Wayland MI area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Wayland MI area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Wayland MI, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training in Wayland MI
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering 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 organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Wayland MI.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Some Cities in Michigan That May Be Of Interest