How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Cocoa Florida
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cocoa FL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by researching 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Cocoa FL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Florida law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Cocoa FL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 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 typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Cocoa FL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Cocoa FL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide 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 choices have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Cocoa FL with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain 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. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Cocoa FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get 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 opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Cocoa FL area healthcare providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Cocoa medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Cocoa FL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cocoa FL, make sure 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 any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol 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 Cocoa Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cocoa FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Several stories circulate among Cocoa old timers as to how the town got its name. One story says that the mail used to come by river boat and was placed in an empty tin box labeled Baker's Cocoa. The box was nailed to a piling in the river next to downtown. Additionally, an early hotel in the area, located on the Indian River lagoon, was named Cocoa House.
In 1885, the S. F. Travis Hardware store opened. It is still in business in 2014. Cocoa's business district was mostly destroyed by fire in 1890. But soon, significant development was stimulated by the extension of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Indian River Railway to Cocoa.
The city was chartered in 1895. In the winter of 1894-1895, Cocoa had an economic setback when the "Great Freeze" destroyed the citrus crop and forced many citrus workers to seek new jobs. According to one source, by 1903, the population of Cocoa had dropped to 382.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Cocoa FL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example 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 Registered Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Cocoa FL.
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