How to Pick a Medical Assistant School in Morristown New Jersey
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Morristown NJ, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Morristown NJ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While Morristown NJ medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under New Jersey law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Morristown NJ employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Morristown NJ employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in regional New Jersey medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Morristown NJ is provided.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program options, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Morristown NJ or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when assessing New Jersey schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Morristown NJ employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited Morristown NJ area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the Morristown NJ area schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of New Jersey medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with local medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Morristown NJ health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Morristown NJ area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college in the Morristown NJ area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Morristown NJ, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program in Morristown NJ
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Morristown NJ.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask applicants is "What made you pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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