How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Course in Ocean Park Washington
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Ocean Park WA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out 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 very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Ocean Park WA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type 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 medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though Ocean Park WA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some choose to specialize in a particular 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 Training and Certification
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Ocean Park WA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Ocean Park WA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably 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 have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work 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. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in local Washington health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Ocean Park WA is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Ocean Park WA or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when assessing Washington schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college 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 intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Ocean Park WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Ocean Park WA area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out 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 school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get 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 opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Ocean Park WA area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Washington medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Ocean Park WA healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Ocean Park WA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program in the Ocean Park WA area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Ocean Park WA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might 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.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant College in Ocean Park WA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Ocean Park WA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask applicants is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Washington That May Be Of Interest