How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program in Breezewood Pennsylvania
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Breezewood PA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Most potential 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 location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each 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 available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Breezewood PA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Breezewood PA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Pennsylvania law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Breezewood PA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving 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 mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Breezewood PA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. 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 an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in regional Pennsylvania healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Breezewood PA is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Breezewood PA or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must look at when researching Pennsylvania programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Breezewood PA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Breezewood PA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Breezewood PA area schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Pennsylvania medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Breezewood PA medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Breezewood PA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Breezewood PA area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Breezewood PA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Breezewood PA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Breezewood PA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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