How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Haines Alaska
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Haines AK, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Haines AK clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Haines AK medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Alaska law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Haines AK employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Haines AK employers just will not hire 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice 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 conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in regional Alaska medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Haines AK is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Haines AK 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, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing Alaska programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Haines AK employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Haines AK area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering 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 focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Haines AK area colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Alaska medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with local medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Haines AK medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Haines AK area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Haines AK area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Haines AK, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training in Haines AK
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important 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 online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Haines AK.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying 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 best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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