How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Platteville Colorado
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Platteville CO, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Platteville CO clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Colorado law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Platteville CO health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option 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. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be completed in Platteville CO area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary 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 choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Platteville CO medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Platteville CO with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Platteville CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep 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 interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Platteville CO area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Platteville medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Platteville 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 medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Platteville CO, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Platteville Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Platteville CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The Fort St. Vrain Generating Station, originally a nuclear power plant and now operating as a natural gas powered electricity generating facility operated by Xcel Energy, is approximately one-quarter-mile northwest of Platteville.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,485 people, 951 households, and 935 families residing in Platteville. The population density was 1,606.5 people per square mile (618.3/km²). There were 819 housing units at an average density of 555.1 per square mile (213.7/km²). The racial makeup of Platteville was 73.84% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 22.24% from other races, and 2.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.19% of the population.
There were 786 households out of which 45.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.4% were non-families. 18.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.50.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant College Platteville CO
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Vocational Schools. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Platteville CO.
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