How to Choose a Medical Assistant Course in Redgranite Wisconsin
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Redgranite WI, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Redgranite WI clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Redgranite WI medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Wisconsin law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Redgranite WI employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Redgranite WI employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for students 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 to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in local Wisconsin healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Redgranite WI is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant program options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Redgranite WI or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating Wisconsin programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Redgranite WI employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Redgranite WI area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, 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, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Redgranite WI area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Wisconsin medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional healthcare providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Redgranite WI health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some 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 school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers in the Redgranite WI area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college in the Redgranite WI area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Redgranite WI, confirm 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 any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training in Redgranite WI
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Redgranite WI.
Why Did You Want to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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