How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Portland Connecticut
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Portland CT, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean 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 issues as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must 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 briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Portland CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some prefer 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Portland CT health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied 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 too. They are a good option for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Portland CT area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical 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 mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Portland CT medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Portland CT with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Portland CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Portland CT area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Portland medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? 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 offer job placement assistance in the Portland CT area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Portland CT, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may 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 emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Portland Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Portland CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Portland is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 8,732 at the 2000 census. The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP). It is situated across the Connecticut River from Middletown. Brownstone quarried in Portland was used in the construction of Hartford's Old State House in 1796. The vast majority of the brownstone buildings in Connecticut (see College Row at Wesleyan University and the Long Walk at Trinity College) as well as the famous brownstones in New York City were built with brownstone from Portland's quarries.
The Wangunk tribe lived in the area prior to European settlement, and lived in Portland continuously throughout the settler period. Wangunk descendants still live in the area today. Their name referred to the bend in the Connecticut River which curves around half of the town's perimeter.
The first European settlers came to Portland in the 1690s. They were attracted by brownstone, which was used both for construction and for gravestones. Proximity to the river meant that the stone could be transported far and wide, and the Portland brownstone quarries supplied to New York, Boston and even San Francisco, Canada and England. By the 1850s, more than 1,500 people were employed in the quarry industry. More than 25 ships transported the stone. By the 1850s, shipbuilding became more important as an industry, and the economic center of town shifted toward the Gildersleeve area. Immigrants from Ireland, then Sweden, then (to a lesser extent) Italy came to town to work the quarries.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training Portland CT
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing 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, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Colleges That Offer Medical Assistant Degrees. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 selecting the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Portland CT.
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