How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Salt Lake City Utah
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Salt Lake City UT, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Salt Lake City UT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Salt Lake City UT medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Utah law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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 Training Programs and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Salt Lake City UT employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Salt Lake City UT employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in regional Utah health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Salt Lake City UT is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Salt Lake City UT or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when assessing Utah programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Salt Lake City UT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Salt Lake City UT area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths 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 closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the Salt Lake City UT area schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Utah medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Salt Lake City UT healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Salt Lake City UT area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Salt Lake City UT area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Salt Lake City UT, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in Salt Lake City UT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan 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 online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Salt Lake City UT.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask candidates is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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