How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Annandale New Jersey
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Annandale NJ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Annandale NJ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although Annandale NJ medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under New Jersey law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Annandale NJ employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature 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 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 idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Annandale NJ employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in area New Jersey healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Annandale NJ is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant program options, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Annandale NJ or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to examine when assessing New Jersey schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in 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 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Annandale NJ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Annandale NJ area medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the Annandale NJ area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous New Jersey medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Annandale NJ health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Annandale NJ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college in the Annandale NJ area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Annandale NJ, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training in Annandale NJ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program 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 lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Annandale NJ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask candidates is "What made you select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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