How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Course in Shrewsbury New Jersey
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Shrewsbury NJ, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Shrewsbury NJ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though Shrewsbury NJ medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under New Jersey law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Shrewsbury NJ employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature 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 commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Shrewsbury NJ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in area New Jersey health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Shrewsbury NJ is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Shrewsbury NJ or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when researching New Jersey schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Shrewsbury NJ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Shrewsbury NJ area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on 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 means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Shrewsbury NJ area colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of New Jersey medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Shrewsbury NJ medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help 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 program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Shrewsbury NJ area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small 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 monitor a few classes before selecting a program in the Shrewsbury NJ area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Shrewsbury NJ, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Shrewsbury NJ
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges 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 decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Shrewsbury NJ.
Why Did You Decide to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask candidates is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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