How to Select a Medical Assistant Course in Pleasant Hill Oregon
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Pleasant Hill OR, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Pleasant Hill OR hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may 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 may 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 submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Pleasant Hill OR medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Oregon law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Pleasant Hill OR employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route 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 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Pleasant Hill OR employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in local Oregon healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Pleasant Hill OR is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Pleasant Hill OR or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating Oregon programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 allowed 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 prospective Pleasant Hill OR employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Pleasant Hill OR area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Pleasant Hill OR area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Oregon medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Pleasant Hill OR medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts in the Pleasant Hill OR area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Pleasant Hill OR area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Pleasant Hill OR, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training in Pleasant Hill OR
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal 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 prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Pleasant Hill OR.
Why Did You Want to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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