How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near East Lyme Connecticut
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near East Lyme CT, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in 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 cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the East Lyme CT clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of East Lyme 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 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in East Lyme CT area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential East Lyme CT medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing 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 East Lyme CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each 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 ensure that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential East Lyme CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out 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 targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with East Lyme CT area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the East Lyme health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Landing that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the East Lyme CT 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 healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near East Lyme CT, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near East Lyme Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the East Lyme CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
East Lyme, Connecticut
East Lyme is located in southern New London County, west of Waterford and Montville, east of Lyme and Old Lyme, and south of Salem. Long Island Sound is to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.0 square miles (109 km2), of which 34.0 square miles (88 km2) is land and 7.9 square miles (20 km2), or 18.89%, is water.
The town consists primarily of two villages, Flanders and Niantic. It is common for the town of East Lyme to be erroneously called "Niantic", due to this side of town being the "beach" side which is popular with tourists and visitors in the summer months. Niantic's population doubles in the summer months for the beach season, and it has a much higher density than the more sparsely populated Flanders side of town, which is known for its apple orchards, the town's high school, and forest.
The village of Niantic gets its name from the Niantic or Nehantic people, whose ranging grounds once extended from Wecapaug Brook, in what is now Rhode Island, to the Connecticut River. Shortly before the first settlers arrived, the Pequots had invaded Nehantic territory and annexed about half of the land claimed by the tribe. According to local historian Olive Tubbs Chendali:
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Program East Lyme CT
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick 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 Medical Assistant Technician. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in East Lyme CT.
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