How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Burlington Colorado
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Burlington CO, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Burlington CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions 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 specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Colorado law, some choose 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 Training Courses
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Burlington CO health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 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 typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Burlington CO area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Burlington CO medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Burlington CO with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below 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 a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you choose 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 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Burlington CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn 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 obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Burlington CO area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Burlington health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Burlington CO area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Burlington CO, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may 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 emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Burlington Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Burlington CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Burlington was originally laid out one mile west of its present location in 1887 by a man named Lowell in anticipation of the arrival of the railroad. In addition to having the location wrong, Lowell also did not have title to the land. When the railroad did arrive, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, it built its depot at the present site of Burlington and those who had built in Old Burlington moved their buildings to the new townsite. Trains began running in 1888. "The Settlement", about 12 miles northwest of Burlington, was settled by German immigrants from Russia, many from Hoffnungstal, South Russia, who, in addition to their homesteads, built Congregational and Lutheran churches.
Burlington is located at 39°18′15″N 102°16′7″W / 39.30417°N 102.26861°W / 39.30417; -102.26861 (39.304293, -102.268683) on the High Plains in eastern Colorado. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), all of it land.
Burlington as a typical High Plains cool semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers punctuated by occasional heavy thunderstorm rains, and cold, very dry winters. Snowfall is occasionally heavy – the 1971 to 2000 mean was 35.5 inches or 0.90 metres – but mostly the winter weather is very dry and extremely variable in temperatures. More than 33 afternoons (over a third) each winter can be expected to reach or exceed 50 °F or 10 °C, but 6.5 mornings each year will drop to or under 0 °F (−17.8 °C) and 24.6 afternoons do not top freezing.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Burlington CO
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate 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 life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accredited Schools For Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Burlington CO.
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