How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program in Glen Ridge New Jersey
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Glen Ridge NJ, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean 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 factors as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Glen Ridge NJ clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While Glen Ridge NJ medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under New Jersey law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Training and Certification
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Glen Ridge NJ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 stated previously, 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 job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Glen Ridge NJ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in regional New Jersey health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Glen Ridge NJ is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Glen Ridge NJ or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when assessing New Jersey programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Glen Ridge NJ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Glen Ridge NJ area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose 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 one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the Glen Ridge NJ area schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous New Jersey medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Glen Ridge NJ medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts in the Glen Ridge NJ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college in the Glen Ridge NJ area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends in Glen Ridge NJ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School in Glen Ridge NJ
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Glen Ridge NJ.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What drove you to decide on medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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