How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near San Luis Colorado
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near San Luis CO, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the San Luis CO hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical 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 working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Colorado law, some prefer 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of San Luis CO health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical 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 often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in San Luis CO area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible San Luis CO medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to San Luis CO with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective San Luis CO employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive 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 elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with San Luis CO area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the San Luis medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the San Luis CO area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near San Luis CO, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near San Luis Colorado?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the San Luis CO area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
San Luis, Colorado
The Town of San Luis is a statutory town that is the county seat and the most populous town of Costilla County, Colorado, United States. Formerly known as San Luis de la Culebra, San Luis is the oldest continuously occupied town in Colorado. The population was 629 at the 2010 census.
Hispanic settlers from the Taos Valley established several small villages along the Rio Culebra in the San Luis Valley and officially took possession of this portion of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant on April 9, 1851. Settlers built a church in the central village of La Plaza Medio and dedicated it on the Feast of Saint Louis, June 21, 1851. The village was renamed San Luis de la Culebra in honor of its patron saint. San Luis remained part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1861 when the Territory of Colorado was established. Today, San Luis is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the state of Colorado.
A Pueblo Chieftain article dated June 8, 1872 describes the three stores of San Luis as kept by Fred Meyer & Co, Auguste Lacome, and Mazers & Rich in addition to a blacksmith, butcher, beer saloon, carpenter, and two hotels.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training San Luis CO
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Graduation. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in San Luis CO.
More Medical Locations in Colorado