How to Select a Medical Assistant School near West Haven Connecticut
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Haven CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the West Haven CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. 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 tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available 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 Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many West Haven CT health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine 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 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in West Haven CT area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential West Haven CT medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to West Haven CT with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when researching programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective West Haven 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 colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in 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 closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with West Haven CT area medical providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the West Haven healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the West Haven CT area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Haven CT, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Haven Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Haven CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Haven, Connecticut
Settled in 1648, West Haven (then known as West Farms) was a part of the original New Haven Colony. In 1719, it became the separate parish of West Haven, but was still officially a part of New Haven until 1822.
During the American Revolution, West Haven was the frequent launch and arrival point for raiding parties on both sides of the war. On July 5, 1779, the British invaded New Haven Harbor and came ashore in West Haven and East Haven. Thomas Painter, a teenaged militiaman watching for the approaching British ships while standing atop Savin Rock, is depicted on the city seal. The main commercial street, Campbell Avenue, is named for British Adjutant William Campbell, at the time an ensign in the Third Guards, who rescued the Reverend Noah Williston, the local Congregational minister and outspoken revolutionary, from being bayoneted by British and Hessian troopers, after he broke his leg trying to escape his captors. Campbell then ordered the soldiers to help the minister back to the parsonage and had the regimental surgeon set his leg. Campbell is also credited with keeping the troops in reasonably good order during their march through the village and reportedly had two soldiers arrested after a local woman accused them of stealing her jewelry. Campbell was killed hours later atop Allingtown Hill on his way to New Haven by a local farmer-turned defender. Campbell is buried in the Allingtown section of town off Prudden Street. Patriot victims of the invasion are buried in the Christ Church and First Society Cemetery. A historical headstone marks Campbell's approximate gravesite and is maintained by the West Haven Historical Society.
While West Haven again attempted to incorporate as its own town in 1784, that attempt failed, primarily due to the protests of neighboring Milford, which opposed North Milford becoming part of the new town. West Haven and North Milford tried again in 1786 and 1787 with the same result. The two finally joined to become Orange (incorporated as a town in 1822). In 1921, West Haven split from Orange to become a separate town. It was incorporated as a city in 1961 and is known as "Connecticut's Youngest City", but it is ironically one of the state's oldest settlements.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant College West Haven CT
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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 sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Programs Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in West Haven CT.
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