Medical Assistant Training Programs in Missouri

How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Missouri

Missouri Medical Assistant completing internship trainingNow that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Missouri, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students start by researching 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 very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might decide to look into some 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 relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” 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 Function of a Medical Assistant

The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Missouri clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Providing basic support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Missouri law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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

Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Missouri employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate 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 medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Missouri employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

CMA working with children in MissouriThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in local Missouri healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when evaluating Missouri schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Missouri employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Missouri medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.

Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Missouri schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Missouri medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in Missouri to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school in Missouri to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Missouri, verify that those times are offered. 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 might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Missouri

It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Missouri.

Some Cities in Missouri That May Be Of Interest

  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Mount Vernon MO 65712
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Marble Hill MO 63764
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Winston MO 64689
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Lancaster MO 63548
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Fulton MO 65251
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Jamestown MO 65046
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Forsyth MO 65653
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Palmyra MO 63461
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Miller MO 65707
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Montgomery City MO 63361