How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Breckenridge Colorado
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Breckenridge CO, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is to make sure that the Breckenridge CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. 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
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Colorado law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Breckenridge CO health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. 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 prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for students 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 solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Breckenridge CO area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal option for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Breckenridge CO medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 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 offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Breckenridge CO with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Breckenridge CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Breckenridge CO area health care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Breckenridge medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Breckenridge CO area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere 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 imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Breckenridge CO, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Breckenridge Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Breckenridge CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Breckenridge is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Summit County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 4,540 at the 2010 United States Census. The town also has many part-time residents, as many people have vacation homes in the area. The town is located at the base of the Tenmile Range.
Since ski trails were first cut in 1961, Breckenridge Ski Resort has made the town a popular destination for skiers. Summer in Breckenridge attracts outdoor enthusiasts with hiking trails, wildflowers, fly-fishing in the Blue River, mountain biking, nearby Lake Dillon for boating, white water rafting, alpine slides, and many shops and restaurants up and down Main Street. The historic buildings along Main Street with their clapboard and log exteriors add to the charm of the town. Since 1981, Breckenridge hosts the Breckenridge Festival of Film in September. In January each year in the 21st century there is a Backcountry Film Festival. That is held about the same time as the Ullr Fest, a week of celebrating snow and honoring the Norse god Ullr. There are many summer activities, including an annual Fourth of July parade.
The town of Breckenridge was formally created in November 1859 by General George E. Spencer. Spencer chose the name "Breckinridge" after John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, 14th Vice President of the United States, in the hopes of flattering the government and gaining a post office. Spencer succeeded in his plan and a post office was built in Breckinridge; it was the first post office between the Continental Divide and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Course Breckenridge CO
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Info. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Breckenridge CO.
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