How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Branford Connecticut
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Branford CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (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 important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Branford CT clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support 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 possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Branford CT health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently 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 four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Branford CT area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Branford CT medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Branford CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Branford CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the program’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 school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally 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, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Branford CT area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Branford medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Branford CT area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Branford CT, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Branford Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Branford CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.0 square miles (73 km2); 22.0 square miles (57 km2) are land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) (21.5%) are water, including the Branford River, Queach Brook and the Branford Supply Ponds. There are two harbors, the more central Branford Harbor and Stony Creek Harbor on the east end, and one town beach at Branford Point. Much of the town's border with East Haven to the west is dominated by Lake Saltonstall, a reservoir owned by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and Saltonstall Mountain, part of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. The southern terminus of the Metacomet Ridge, Beacon Hill, is located in Branford.
An area called "Totoket", which became Branford, was part of the land bought from the Mattabesech Indians in 1638 by the first settlers of New Haven. Previously, the Dutch in the New Netherland settlements set up a trading post at the mouth of the Branford River in the 17th century, the source of the name "Dutch Wharf" also known as "Dutch House Wharf" and the Dutch House Quarter. The area was also described by Ezra Stiles as containing a "Dutch Fort" as hinted at by archaeological excavations completed in the 1990s.
The town's name is said to be derived from the town of Brentford, England. The town in early maps was actually called Brentford before being shortened to Branford. Established in 1644, Branford grew during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the late 18th century, the first shoreline community, Stony Creek, was settled. Indian Neck and Pine Orchard were also settled, but neither of those settlements was permanent until the mid-19th century.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Branford CT
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Online School. 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 provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Branford CT.
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