How to Pick a Medical Assistant Course in Dedham Massachusetts
Once you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Dedham MA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short 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 Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Dedham MA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing 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 doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While Dedham MA medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Massachusetts law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 and Certification
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Dedham MA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical 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 practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Dedham MA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in area 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 training may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Dedham MA is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Dedham MA or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing Massachusetts programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you select 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 intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Dedham MA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Dedham MA area medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the Dedham MA area schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of Massachusetts medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Dedham MA health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts in the Dedham MA area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Dedham MA area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Dedham MA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program in Dedham MA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health 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 before making your decision. 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 sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. 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 supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Dedham MA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors 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 profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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