How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Grand Junction Colorado
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Grand Junction CO, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Grand Junction CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Colorado law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Grand Junction CO health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Grand Junction CO area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Grand Junction CO medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Grand Junction CO with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 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 aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Grand Junction CO employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Grand Junction CO area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Grand Junction medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Grand Junction CO area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Grand Junction CO, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Grand Junction Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Grand Junction CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Grand Junction, Colorado
Grand Junction is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. The city has a council–manager form of government, and is the most populous municipality in all of western Colorado. Grand Junction is 247 miles (398 km) west-southwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 58,566. Grand Junction is the 15th most populous city in the state of Colorado and the most populous city on the Colorado Western Slope. It is a major commercial and transportation hub within the large area between the Green River and the Continental Divide. It is the principal city of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 146,723 in 2010 census.
The city is along the Colorado River, at its confluence with the Gunnison River, which comes in from the south. "Grand" refers to the historical Grand River; it was renamed the Upper Colorado River in 1921. "Junction" refers to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Grand Junction has been nicknamed "River City". It is near the midpoint of a 30-mile (48 km) arcing valley, known as the Grand Valley; since the late 19th century it has been a major fruit-growing region. The valley was long occupied by the Ute people and earlier indigenous cultures. It was not settled by European-American farmers until the 1880s. Since the late 20th century, several wineries have been established in the area.
The Colorado National Monument, a unique series of canyons and mesas, overlooks the city on the west. Most of the area is surrounded by federal public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. The Book Cliffs are a prominent series of cliffs that define the northern side of the Grand Valley. Interstate 70 connects the city eastward to Glenwood Springs and Denver and westward to Green River, Utah; Salt Lake City is reached to the west via Interstate 70 and U.S Route 6; and Las Vegas (via Interstate 70 and Interstate 15).
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Grand Junction CO
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire 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 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 critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Pediatric Medical Assistant. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Grand Junction CO.
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