How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Stratford Connecticut
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Stratford CT, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Stratford CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Stratford CT health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Stratford CT area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may 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 Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Stratford CT medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Stratford CT with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, 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 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Stratford CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’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 college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Stratford CT area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Stratford medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Stratford CT area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe 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 college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Stratford CT, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need 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 Stratford Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Stratford CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Stratford is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It is situated on Long Island Sound along Connecticut's "Gold Coast" at the mouth of the Housatonic River. Stratford is in the Bridgeport–Stamford–Norwalk Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was founded by Puritans in 1639.
The population was 51,384 as of the 2010 census. It is bordered on the west by Bridgeport, to the north by Trumbull and Shelton, and on the east by Milford (across the Housatonic River). Stratford has a historical legacy in aviation, the military, and theater.
Stratford was founded in 1639 by Puritan leader Reverend Adam Blakeman, William Beardsley, and either 16 families (according to legend) or approximately 35 families (suggested by later research) who had recently arrived in Connecticut from England seeking religious freedom. In 1639 the General Court in Hartford made reference to the town as the "new plantation at Pequannock". In 1640 the community was known as Cupheag, a Native American Paugussett word meaning "at the enclosed place" or "place of shelter". By April 13, 1643, the growing town was known as Stratford, changed to honor William Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant School Stratford CT
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Pediatric Medical Assistant. But irrespective 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Stratford CT.
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