How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Franklin New Hampshire
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Franklin NH, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential students begin by checking out 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, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Franklin NH clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Franklin NH medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under New Hampshire law, some elect 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 Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Franklin NH employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Franklin NH employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in regional New Hampshire medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Franklin NH is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Franklin NH or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing New Hampshire programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Franklin NH employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Franklin NH area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Franklin NH area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of New Hampshire medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Franklin NH health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing 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 indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Franklin NH area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program in the Franklin NH area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Franklin NH, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant School in Franklin NH
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program 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 pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right 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 selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Franklin NH.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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