How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Altamonte Springs Florida
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Altamonte Springs FL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Altamonte Springs FL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Florida law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Training Courses
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Altamonte Springs FL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical 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.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. 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 an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Altamonte Springs FL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online lessons 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, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Altamonte Springs FL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take 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, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like 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 researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Altamonte Springs FL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when researching programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Altamonte Springs FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine 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 naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out 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 assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Altamonte Springs FL area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Altamonte Springs medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that first job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Altamonte Springs FL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Altamonte Springs FL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Altamonte Springs Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Altamonte Springs FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Altamonte Springs is a suburban city in Seminole County, Florida, United States, which had a population of 41,496 at the 2010 census. The city is in the northern suburbs of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the United States Census Bureau estimated had a population of 2,054,574 in 2008.
Dr. Washington Kilmer of Cincinnati was the first person of European background to settle into the area circa 1870, and he named the area Altamont (minus the "e" from the present spelling) after Altamont, New York, an area near his childhood home. In 1882, the Altamonte Land, Hotel and Navigation Company, founded by Thomas C. Simpson and four other Massachusetts businessmen, gave the area its present name: Altamonte Springs. The company developed the core community along Altamonte Avenue (today's SR 436) between Maitland and Longwood Avenues (today's Ronald Reagan Boulevard). On November 11, 1920, the residents of Altamonte Springs voted 38 to 7 in favor of incorporation.
As of the census of 2000, there were 41,200 people, 18,821 households, and 10,012 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,631.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,787.3/km2). There were 19,992 housing units at an average density of 2,247.2 per square mile (867.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.23% White, 9.72% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.94% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.79% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.93% of the population.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Altamonte Springs FL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Graduation. 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 supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Altamonte Springs FL.
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