How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School in East Orange New Jersey
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in East Orange NJ, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the East Orange NJ clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though East Orange NJ medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under New Jersey law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many East Orange NJ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential East Orange NJ 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). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in area New Jersey healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in East Orange NJ is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near East Orange NJ or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to explore when researching New Jersey schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential East Orange NJ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited East Orange NJ area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select 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 one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the East Orange NJ area schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many New Jersey medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with local health care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the East Orange NJ medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance 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 high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the East Orange NJ area to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college in the East Orange NJ area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in East Orange NJ, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in East Orange NJ
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on 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 agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in East Orange NJ.
Why Did You Want to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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