How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Greene Maine
Once you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Greene ME, 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 enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative 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 pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Greene ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although Greene ME medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Maine law, some opt to specialize in a specific 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Greene ME employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain 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 designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain 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 comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Greene ME employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in regional Maine medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Greene ME is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Greene ME or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing Maine schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Greene ME employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Greene ME area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the Greene ME area schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Maine medical assistant programs offer internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Greene ME healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Greene ME area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school in the Greene ME area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Greene ME, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training in Greene ME
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Greene ME.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask candidates is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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