How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training in Collegedale Tennessee
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant course in Collegedale TN, 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 subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Collegedale TN clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although Collegedale TN medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Tennessee law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 Courses and Certification
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Collegedale TN employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Collegedale TN employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good 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 a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in regional Tennessee health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Collegedale TN is furnished.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Collegedale TN or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit 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 considerations that you need to examine when evaluating Tennessee programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Collegedale TN employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited Collegedale TN area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges 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 choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the Collegedale TN area schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous Tennessee medical assistant schools offer internship programs with regional health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Collegedale TN health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing 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 indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts in the Collegedale TN area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college in the Collegedale TN area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Collegedale TN, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still 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 emergencies.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Collegedale TN
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Collegedale TN.
Why Did You Want to Become a Medical Assistant?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask applicants is "What made you decide on medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Medical Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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