How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Avon Connecticut
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Avon CT, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Avon CT clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Avon CT 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 two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have the 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 working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Avon CT area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Avon CT medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Avon CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Avon CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Avon CT area medical providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Avon health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Avon CT area and ask 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction 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 instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Avon CT, make sure that those times are available. You might 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. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Avon Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Avon CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Avon is an affluent suburb of Hartford. Avon Old Farms School, a prestigious boarding school, is located there. In 2005, Avon was named the third-safest town in America by Money Magazine. It is home to the Pine Grove School House, which was built in 1865 and remains open today as a museum.
Avon is home to Avon High School as well as two elementary schools, Pine Grove Elementary and Roaring Brook Elementary, an intermediate (grades 5–6) school, Thompson Brook, and a middle school (grades 7–8), Avon Middle School.
The East side of Avon is flanked by Talcott Mountain, part of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to near the Vermont border. Talcott Mountain is a popular outdoor recreation resource notable for its towering western cliff faces. The 51-mile (82 km) Metacomet Trail traverses the Talcott Mountain ridge.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Avon CT
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Duties. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Avon CT.
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