How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Columbia Connecticut
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Columbia CT, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to look into 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 need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Columbia CT clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type 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 practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Columbia CT health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed 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 usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have 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 to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Columbia CT area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Columbia CT medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps 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 exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Columbia CT with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Columbia CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Columbia CT area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Columbia health care community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Columbia CT area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Columbia CT, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol 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 Columbia Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Columbia CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Columbia is a town in Tolland County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 4,971 at the 2000 census. Originally a part of Lebanon, known as the North Society or Lebanon's Crank, Columbia was incorporated in May 1804. The town was named for patriotic reasons after the national symbol "Columbia". Columbia offers pre-kindergarten through 8th grade education in town at Horace W. Porter School, while high school students have a choice of attending three nearby high schools (Bolton High School, E. O. Smith High School, and Windham Technical High School, part of the Connecticut Technical High School System).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.0 square miles (57 km2), of which, 21.4 square miles (55 km2) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it (2.78%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,971 people, 1,864 households, and 1,463 families residing in the town. The population density was 232.8 people per square mile (89.9/km²). There were 1,988 housing units at an average density of 93.1 per square mile (35.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.43% White, 0.38% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.56% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.69% of the population.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Columbia CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant Exam. But irrespective 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Columbia CT.
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