How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Irvington New York
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Irvington NY, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Irvington NY hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Irvington NY medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under New York law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training Courses and Certification
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Irvington NY employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational 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 frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied 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 choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Irvington NY employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs 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 fulfilled, but they can often be completed in area New York medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Irvington NY is furnished.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining 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 Irvington NY or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when evaluating New York schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training 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 acknowledged 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 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 offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Irvington NY employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Irvington NY area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select 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 1 year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Irvington NY area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of New York medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Irvington NY medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers in the Irvington NY area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during 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 sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Irvington NY area to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Irvington NY, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Irvington NY
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Irvington NY.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a CMA, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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