How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in Blandon Pennsylvania
Once you have decided to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Blandon PA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start 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 Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Blandon PA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Blandon PA medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Pennsylvania law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Blandon PA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Blandon PA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received 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). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in regional Pennsylvania health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Blandon PA is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Blandon PA or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when researching Pennsylvania schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Blandon PA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Blandon PA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare 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 naturally you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Blandon PA area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of Pennsylvania medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Blandon PA healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Blandon PA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual 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 teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school in the Blandon PA area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Blandon PA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course in Blandon PA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Blandon PA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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