How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Wayne Pennsylvania
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant program in Wayne PA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Wayne PA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties 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
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though Wayne PA medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Wayne PA employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Wayne PA employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in local Pennsylvania healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the best option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Wayne PA is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus near Wayne PA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when assessing Pennsylvania schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Wayne PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Wayne PA area medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Wayne PA area schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of Pennsylvania medical assistant schools offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Wayne PA healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts in the Wayne PA area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program in the Wayne PA area to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Wayne PA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program in Wayne PA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Wayne PA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask applicants is "What made you select medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Some Cities in Pennsylvania That May Be Of Interest