How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Murray Kentucky
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Murray KY, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Murray KY clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many duties 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 doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Murray KY medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Kentucky law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Murray KY employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Murray KY employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in regional Kentucky healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Murray KY is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Murray KY or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when evaluating Kentucky schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Murray KY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Murray KY area medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, find out 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 evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Murray KY area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of Kentucky medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Murray KY healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Murray KY area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program in the Murray KY area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Murray KY, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program in Murray KY
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Murray KY.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask applicants is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Kentucky That May Be Of Interest