How to Select a Medical Assistant Program in Bear Lake Michigan
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Bear Lake MI, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting 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 Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Bear Lake MI clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although Bear Lake MI medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Michigan law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Bear Lake MI employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Bear Lake MI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for those 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 alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in area Michigan healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Bear Lake MI is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Bear Lake MI or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when evaluating Michigan schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Bear Lake MI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Bear Lake MI area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? 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, 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 broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Bear Lake MI area schools you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many Michigan medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Bear Lake MI medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers in the Bear Lake MI area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program in the Bear Lake MI area to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? 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 at night or on weekends in Bear Lake MI, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School in Bear Lake MI
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure 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 examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bear Lake MI.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask prospects is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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