How to Select a Medical Assistant Course in Factoryville Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Factoryville PA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Factoryville PA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many 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 specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Factoryville PA medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Courses and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Factoryville PA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Factoryville PA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in local Pennsylvania health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Factoryville PA is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Factoryville PA or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching Pennsylvania schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Factoryville PA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Factoryville PA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Factoryville PA area colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Pennsylvania medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Factoryville PA medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts in the Factoryville PA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator 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 provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Factoryville PA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Factoryville PA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College in Factoryville PA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be 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 begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Factoryville PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What compelled you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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