How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Harrisburg Oregon
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Harrisburg OR, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Harrisburg OR clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Harrisburg OR medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Oregon law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Harrisburg OR employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Harrisburg OR employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered 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. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in regional Oregon health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Harrisburg OR is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Harrisburg OR or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing colleges. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when researching Oregon programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, 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 enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Harrisburg OR employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Harrisburg OR area medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Harrisburg OR area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many Oregon medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Harrisburg OR health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a school 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 large network of employers in the Harrisburg OR area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college in the Harrisburg OR area to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends in Harrisburg OR, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training in Harrisburg OR
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Harrisburg OR.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask prospects is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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