How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Divide Colorado
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Divide CO, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (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 qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included 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 offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Divide CO clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Colorado law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Divide CO health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals 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 community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical 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.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Divide CO area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Divide CO medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Divide CO with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Divide CO employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program focused 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 one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Divide CO area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Divide health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Divide CO area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Divide CO, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still 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 Divide Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Divide CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Divide is a census-designated place and a U.S. Post Office in Teller County, Colorado, United States. The population as of the 2010 Census was 127. Divide sits on the north slope of Pikes Peak on U.S. Highway 24. Ute Pass is immediately west of town. The Divide Post Office has the ZIP Code 80814.
Travelers will find easy access to fuel and convenience-store items, several restaurants, a grocery, post office, a trading post & gift shop, and a local brewery. Located just a few miles outside of Divide is Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, a Christian youth and young adult camp, and Mueller State Park is just six minutes south of town, offering camping, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities within its over 5,000 acres of spring-fed meadows, ponds, forested ridges, and massive rocks. For those with pets or horses, Divide Feed Store provides staples and supplies of all types. Divide is home to Summit Elementary and a number of churches, as well as the Teller County Sheriff's office. The Teller County Jail behind the Sheriff's office is infamous for holding the 'Texas Seven' back in early 2000. Teller County Regional Animal Shelter  is nearby, as well.
A post office called Divide has been in operation since 1889. Some say the community was named for a drainage divide near the original town site. However, it is more likely that the current name is based on it being the watershed divide between the South Platte and Arkansas rivers.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Divide CO
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether 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 must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Programs. But regardless of the type 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 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 Divide CO.
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