How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Maplewood New Jersey
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Maplewood NJ, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Maplewood NJ hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Maplewood NJ medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under New Jersey law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Maplewood NJ employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, 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 option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Maplewood NJ employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in local New Jersey healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Maplewood NJ is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Maplewood NJ or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when assessing New Jersey schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 allowed 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 last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Maplewood NJ 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 Maplewood NJ area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Maplewood NJ area colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many New Jersey medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Maplewood NJ medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers in the Maplewood NJ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Maplewood NJ area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Maplewood NJ, 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 have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Right Medical Assistant College in Maplewood NJ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maplewood NJ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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