How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Kimberton Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Kimberton PA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might 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 must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Kimberton PA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative 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 in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Kimberton PA medical assistants can perform almost any activity 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 Training and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Kimberton 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 provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed 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 available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Kimberton PA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in regional Pennsylvania medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Kimberton PA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Kimberton PA or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching Pennsylvania programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Kimberton PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Kimberton PA area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Kimberton PA area schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Pennsylvania medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Kimberton PA medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Kimberton PA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program in the Kimberton PA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Kimberton PA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Kimberton PA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed 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 plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kimberton PA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask applicants is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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