How to Pick a Medical Assistant School in Livingston Tennessee
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Livingston TN, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 critical issues also. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Livingston TN clinics, hospitals and other medical care 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 providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Livingston TN medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Tennessee law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Livingston TN employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Livingston TN employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in local Tennessee medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Livingston TN is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Livingston TN or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when researching Tennessee programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin 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 must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. 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, many prospective Livingston TN employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Livingston TN area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Livingston TN area colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Tennessee medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Livingston TN healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Livingston TN area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Livingston TN area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Livingston TN, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Livingston TN
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin 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 appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to 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 Livingston TN.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Cities in Tennessee That May Be Of Interest