How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School in Platteville Wisconsin
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Platteville WI, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Platteville WI hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. 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 responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While Platteville WI medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Wisconsin law, some choose 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Platteville WI employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical 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 often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Platteville WI employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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 apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in local Wisconsin medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Platteville WI is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Platteville WI or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing colleges. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the lowest 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 examine when researching Wisconsin programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Platteville WI 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 Platteville WI area medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the Platteville WI area colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many Wisconsin medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Platteville WI health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide 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 a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Platteville WI area to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a school in the Platteville WI area to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Platteville WI, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course in Platteville WI
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can 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 Platteville WI.
Why Did You Want to Be a CMA?When preparing to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask candidates is "What compelled you to select medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to medical assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding medical assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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