How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Franklin Pennsylvania
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Franklin PA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several 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 function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Franklin PA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While Franklin PA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Courses and Certification
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Franklin PA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four 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 graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Franklin PA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for 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, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in regional Pennsylvania medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Franklin PA is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Franklin PA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing Pennsylvania programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Franklin PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Franklin PA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Franklin PA area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Pennsylvania medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Franklin PA medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high 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 Franklin PA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school in the Franklin PA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Franklin PA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training 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.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Franklin PA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Franklin PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask applicants is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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