How to Pick a Medical Assistant Course in Elmhurst New York
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Elmhurst NY, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Elmhurst NY hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Elmhurst NY medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under New York law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Elmhurst NY employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created 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 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Elmhurst NY employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in area New York medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Elmhurst NY is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Elmhurst NY or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating New York schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Elmhurst NY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Elmhurst NY area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Elmhurst NY area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous New York medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Elmhurst NY health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers in the Elmhurst NY area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication 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 provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program in the Elmhurst NY area to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Elmhurst NY, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School in Elmhurst NY
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days 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 decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Elmhurst NY.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask candidates is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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