How to Select a Medical Assistant Course in Braintree Massachusetts
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Braintree MA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate 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 factors also. You may want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Braintree MA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Braintree MA medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Massachusetts law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Braintree MA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Braintree MA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in local Massachusetts medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Braintree MA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Braintree MA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when assessing Massachusetts programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 accepted 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Braintree MA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Braintree MA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Braintree MA area colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many Massachusetts medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Braintree MA health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts in the Braintree MA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller 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 practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Braintree MA area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Braintree MA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training in Braintree MA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal 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 acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Braintree 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 reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask prospects is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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