How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Colorado Springs Colorado
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Colorado Springs CO, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option 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 relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role 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 Colorado Springs CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with 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. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Colorado law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Colorado Springs CO health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire 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 basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with 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 training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. 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 alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Colorado Springs CO area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Colorado Springs CO medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Colorado Springs CO with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs 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 college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Colorado Springs CO employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Colorado Springs CO area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Colorado Springs healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Colorado Springs CO area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Colorado Springs CO, 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 also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Colorado Springs Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Colorado Springs CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality that is the largest city by area in Colorado as well as the county seat and the most populous municipality of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in the east central portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located 60 miles (97 km) south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over 1 mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is situated near the base of Pikes Peak, which rises 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above sea level on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The city is home to 24 national governing bodies of sport, including the United States Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Training Center, and USA Hockey.
The city had an estimated population of 465,101 in 2016, and a metro population of approximately 712,000, ranking as the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 42nd most populous city in the United States. The Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 712,327 in 2016. The city is included in the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong region of urban population along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, generally following the path of Interstate 25 in both states.
Select the Right Medical Assistant College Colorado Springs CO
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certify Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Colorado Springs CO.
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