How to Pick a Medical Assistant Course in Richmond Kentucky
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Richmond KY, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal 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 cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Richmond KY hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While Richmond KY medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Kentucky law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Richmond KY employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma 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 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Richmond KY employers just will not employ 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra 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 may be lessened also. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in local Kentucky health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Richmond KY is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Richmond KY 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 opening of this article, a number of prospective students limit 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 a number of additional considerations that you must examine when assessing Kentucky programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Richmond KY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited Richmond KY area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering 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 school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the Richmond KY area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous Kentucky medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Richmond KY medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Richmond KY area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program in the Richmond KY area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Richmond KY, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School in Richmond KY
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Richmond KY.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask prospects is "What made you choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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