Medical Assistant Training Programs in North Carolina

How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in North Carolina

North Carolina Medical Assistant completing internship trainingOnce you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in North Carolina, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges 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 credentials and training that are offered.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the North Carolina clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners 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
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Giving basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under North Carolina law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain 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

Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many North Carolina employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some 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 normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible North Carolina employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Programs

CMA working with children in North CarolinaThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in local North Carolina health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Prior to examining your medical assistant program options, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching North Carolina programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure 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 organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential North Carolina employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited North Carolina medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the North Carolina schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of North Carolina medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in North Carolina to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school in North Carolina to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in North Carolina, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training in North Carolina

It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online 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 ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in North Carolina.

Some Cities in North Carolina That May Be Of Interest

  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Aydlett NC 27916
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Polkton NC 28135
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Mccain NC 28361
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Lattimore NC 28089
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Carolina Beach NC 28428
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Godwin NC 28344
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Tabor City NC 28463
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Selma NC 27576
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Red Springs NC 28377
  • Medical Assistant Training Programs near Naples NC 28760