How to Select a Medical Assistant School in Pfafftown North Carolina
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Pfafftown NC, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Pfafftown NC hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Although Pfafftown NC medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under North Carolina law, some elect 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education and Certification
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Pfafftown NC employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. 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 prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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 similar field.
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Pfafftown NC employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in regional North Carolina healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Pfafftown NC is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Pfafftown NC or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when assessing North Carolina schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, 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 must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Pfafftown NC employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited Pfafftown NC area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose 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 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Pfafftown NC area schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of North Carolina medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Pfafftown NC health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts in the Pfafftown NC area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school in the Pfafftown NC 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 college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Pfafftown NC, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Pfafftown NC
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided 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 Pfafftown NC.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask candidates is "What compelled you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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