How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training in Catasauqua Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Catasauqua PA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Catasauqua PA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Catasauqua PA medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Programs and Certification
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Catasauqua PA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Catasauqua PA employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 sit 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 offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in regional Pennsylvania medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Catasauqua PA is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus near Catasauqua PA or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating Pennsylvania programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Catasauqua PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited Catasauqua PA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting 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 closer to one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Catasauqua PA area colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many Pennsylvania medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with regional medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Catasauqua PA medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers in the Catasauqua PA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school in the Catasauqua PA area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Catasauqua PA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program in Catasauqua PA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Catasauqua PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask prospects is "What compelled you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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