How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Lisbon Falls Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Lisbon Falls ME, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Lisbon Falls ME clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Lisbon Falls ME medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Maine 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Lisbon Falls ME employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Lisbon Falls 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 highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in local Maine healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Lisbon Falls ME is provided.
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 want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Lisbon Falls ME or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when researching Maine programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Lisbon Falls ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Lisbon Falls ME area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Lisbon Falls ME area colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Maine medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Lisbon Falls ME healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Lisbon Falls ME area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college in the Lisbon Falls ME area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Lisbon Falls ME, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College in Lisbon Falls ME
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper 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 need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lisbon Falls ME.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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