How to Select a Medical Assistant Training in Kenmore Washington
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Kenmore WA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences 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 important factors as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Kenmore WA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While Kenmore WA medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Kenmore WA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Kenmore WA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in local Washington medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Kenmore WA is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Kenmore WA or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating Washington schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Kenmore WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Kenmore WA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out 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 college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Kenmore WA area schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Washington medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Kenmore WA healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Kenmore WA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program in the Kenmore WA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Kenmore WA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant College in Kenmore WA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. 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 particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kenmore WA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask candidates is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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