How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Weston Connecticut
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Weston CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Weston CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. 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 giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Connecticut law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Weston CT health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed 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 usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Weston CT area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Weston CT medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Weston CT with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed 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 finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Weston CT employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes 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, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Weston CT area health care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Weston medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Weston CT area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere 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 full time, it’s essential that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Weston CT, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Weston Connecticut?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Weston CT area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Weston is an affluent town in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The population was 10,179 at the 2010 census. The town is served by Route 57 and Route 53, both of which run through the town center. About 19% of the town's workforce commutes to New York City, about 45 miles (72 km) to the southwest.
Like many towns in southwestern Connecticut, Weston is among the most affluent communities in the United States. Data collected in 2011 showed that Weston had the highest median household income in Fairfield County, Connecticut, at US$205,173. In 2015, Connecticut Magazine rated Weston as the 9th best among towns in Connecticut with median home values over $325,000. The rating considers education, crime, economy, community engagement, and culture/leisure.
Weston is the closest Connecticut town to New York City without a train station. Aside from a handful of stores that form the town’s center, Weston has little commercial development and residential development is limited by two-acre zoning. Most of Devil's Den Preserve, a 1,746-acre (707 ha) nature reserve, which gets 40,000 visits a year, is located in the town.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant College Weston CT
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Technician. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Weston CT.
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