How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Auburndale Massachusetts
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Auburndale MA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Auburndale MA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing 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
While Auburndale MA medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Massachusetts law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Courses and Certification
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Auburndale MA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, 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 securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Auburndale MA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned 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 alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in regional Massachusetts healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Auburndale MA is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant program options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Auburndale MA or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict 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 examine when assessing Massachusetts programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you choose 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 need to enroll in 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Auburndale MA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Auburndale MA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the Auburndale MA area colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous Massachusetts medical assistant schools offer internship programs with local health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Auburndale MA healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Auburndale MA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program in the Auburndale MA area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Auburndale MA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Program in Auburndale MA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Auburndale MA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask prospects is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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