How to Select a Medical Assistant Classes in Newtown Connecticut
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Newtown CT, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Newtown CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though Newtown CT medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some choose to specialize in a specific 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 and Certification
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Newtown CT employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two 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 usually take about 1 year to finish, some 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Newtown CT employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating 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.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in local Connecticut medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Newtown CT is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Newtown CT or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when assessing Connecticut schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Newtown CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Newtown CT area medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’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. 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 routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Newtown CT area colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Connecticut medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Newtown CT health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges 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 graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts in the Newtown CT area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program in the Newtown CT area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Newtown CT, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Newtown CT
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays 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 decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Newtown CT.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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