How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Spring Lake Michigan
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Spring Lake MI, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Spring Lake MI clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though Spring Lake MI medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Michigan law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Programs and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Spring Lake MI employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive 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 healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Spring Lake MI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in regional Michigan health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Spring Lake MI is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Spring Lake MI or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when assessing Michigan programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Spring Lake MI employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Spring Lake MI area medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the Spring Lake MI area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Michigan medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with local medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Spring Lake MI healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts in the Spring Lake MI area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get throughout 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Spring Lake MI area to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Spring Lake MI, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course in Spring Lake MI
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Spring Lake MI.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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