How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Greenwich Connecticut
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Greenwich CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Greenwich CT hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Greenwich CT health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route 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 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate 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 medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Greenwich CT area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Greenwich CT medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 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.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Greenwich CT with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Greenwich CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Greenwich CT area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Greenwich health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Greenwich CT area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large 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 prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s important that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Greenwich CT, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Greenwich Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Greenwich CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Greenwich /ˈɡrɛnɪtʃ/ is an affluent town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 61,171. It is the 10th largest municipality in Connecticut, and the largest that functions as a town (the remaining largest municipalities in the state function as cities).
The largest town on Connecticut's Gold Coast, Greenwich is home to many hedge funds and other financial service firms. Greenwich is the southernmost and westernmost municipality in Connecticut as well as in the six-state region of New England. It is roughly 40–50 minutes by train from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Greenwich 12th on its list of the "100 Best Places to Live in the United States" in 2005. The town is named after Greenwich, a Royal borough of London in the United Kingdom.
The town of Greenwich was settled in 1640. One of the founders was Elizabeth Fones Winthrop, daughter-in-law of John Winthrop, founder and Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. What is now called Greenwich Point was known for much of the area's early history as "Elizabeth's Neck" in recognition of Elizabeth Fones and their 1640 purchase of the Point and much of the area now known as Old Greenwich. Greenwich was declared a township by the General Assembly in Hartford on May 11, 1665.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Greenwich CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Greenwich CT.
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