How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Murrysville Pennsylvania
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Murrysville PA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Murrysville PA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Murrysville PA medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Pennsylvania law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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 professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Murrysville PA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Murrysville PA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended 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, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in local Pennsylvania health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Murrysville PA is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Murrysville PA or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when evaluating Pennsylvania programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Murrysville PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Murrysville PA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Murrysville PA area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Pennsylvania medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Murrysville PA health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job can 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 evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers in the Murrysville PA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Murrysville PA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential 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 Murrysville PA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Murrysville PA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether 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 need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Murrysville PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim 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 position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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