How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program in Palmerton Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Palmerton PA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest 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 as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Palmerton PA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though Palmerton PA medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some prefer 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 Programs and Certification
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Palmerton PA employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Palmerton PA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in local Pennsylvania medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Palmerton PA is furnished.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Palmerton PA or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to home with the lowest tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when evaluating Pennsylvania programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Palmerton PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited Palmerton PA area medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the Palmerton PA area colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Pennsylvania medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with local medical providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Palmerton PA medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers in the Palmerton PA area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school in the Palmerton PA area to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Palmerton PA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School in Palmerton PA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in 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 life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Palmerton PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Certified Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask candidates is "What made you choose medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent medical assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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