How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Classes in Oakville Connecticut
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Oakville CT, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 issues also. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Oakville CT hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Oakville CT medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Oakville CT employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route 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 six to nine months. They are developed 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 usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical 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 training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Oakville CT employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in area Connecticut healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Oakville CT is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Oakville CT or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest 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 issues that you need to explore when researching Connecticut programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Oakville CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Oakville CT area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however 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 finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Oakville CT area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Connecticut medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Oakville CT healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Oakville CT area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Oakville CT area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Oakville CT, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Oakville CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide 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 need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. 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 particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Oakville CT.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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