How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Course in Grafton New Hampshire
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Grafton NH, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Grafton NH clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential 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 tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though Grafton NH medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under New Hampshire law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Grafton NH employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade 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 classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four 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 idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Grafton NH employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in regional New Hampshire medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Grafton NH is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Grafton NH or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating New Hampshire schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Grafton NH employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Grafton NH area medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths 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, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Grafton NH area colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of New Hampshire medical assistant programs offer internship programs with local medical providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Grafton NH health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Grafton NH area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may 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 offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Grafton NH area to observe 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 program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Grafton NH, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College in Grafton NH
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch 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 right information 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 discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the kind 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Grafton NH.
Why Did You Choose to Become a CMA?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 hiring managers frequently ask prospects is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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