How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training in Auburn New York
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Auburn NY, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest 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 critical factors also. You may want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Auburn NY hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing 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 physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though Auburn NY medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under New York law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Auburn NY employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Auburn NY employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in area New York healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Auburn NY is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant program options, you must decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Auburn NY or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching colleges. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching New York schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Auburn NY employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Auburn NY area medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting 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 methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the Auburn NY area schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many New York medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Auburn NY medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers in the Auburn NY area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college in the Auburn NY area to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Auburn NY, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Medical Assistant School in Auburn NY
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right 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 need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Auburn NY.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask prospects is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Some Cities in New York That May Be Of Interest