How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Fairfield Connecticut
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fairfield CT, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Fairfield CT hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based 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 physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Fairfield CT health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Fairfield CT area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Fairfield CT medical employers just 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) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Fairfield CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Fairfield CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Fairfield CT area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Fairfield healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Fairfield 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 healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairfield CT, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, 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 Fairfield Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fairfield CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fairfield is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It borders the city of Bridgeport and towns of Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport along the Gold Coast of Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 59,404. In September 2014, Money magazine ranked Fairfield the 44th best place to live in the United States, and the best place to live in Connecticut.
In 1635, Puritans and Congregationalists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, were dissatisfied with the rate of Anglican reform, and sought to establish an ecclesiastical society subject to their own rules and regulations. The Massachusetts General Court granted them permission to settle in the towns of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford which is an area now known as Connecticut.
On January 14, 1639, a set of legal and administrative regulations called the Fundamental Orders was adopted, and established Connecticut as a self-ruling entity. By 1639 these settlers had started new towns in the surrounding areas. Roger Ludlowe, framer of the Fundamental Orders, purchased the land presently called Fairfield, and established the name. The name "Fairfield" is commendatory.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program Fairfield CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can A Medical Assistant Do. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Fairfield CT.
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