How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Putnam Connecticut
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Putnam CT, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Putnam CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Putnam CT health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Putnam CT area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Putnam CT medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Putnam CT with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Putnam CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs 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 targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate 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 opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Putnam CT area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Putnam medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Putnam CT area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Putnam CT, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Putnam Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Putnam CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Putnam, originally known as Aspinock, then part of Killingly, is a New England mill town incorporated in 1855. Created from sections of Killingly, Pomfret, and Thompson, the town was named in honor of Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam.
Putnam was a key contributor in providing clothing and other goods to the Civil War soldiers. There were numerous mills and a train ran through the town, providing transportation for the goods being produced.
On August 19, 1955, Putnam was devastated by floods from torrential downpours caused by two hurricanes, which hit Connecticut within the span of a week. Hurricane Connie affected Connecticut on August 13, dropping between four and six inches (152 mm) of rain across the state. Hurricane Diane soaked the state with 14 inches (360 mm) of rain on August 18–19. The result was flooding in many of the state's rivers, including the Quinebaug River. The resulting torrent of water destroyed homes, businesses and factories. Floating magnesium barrels burst, lighting up the night. The railroad bed was washed away.
Select the Best Medical Assistant College Putnam CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning 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 obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Programs. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Putnam CT.
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