How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Homestead Florida
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Homestead FL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to look into some 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 complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask each 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 Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Homestead FL hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities 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 practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Florida law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Homestead FL 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 essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some 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 obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical 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 classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Homestead FL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Homestead FL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Homestead FL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Homestead FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Homestead FL area health care providers. They are an excellent way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Homestead healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Homestead FL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching environment 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 on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homestead FL, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Homestead Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Homestead FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Homestead is a city within Miami-Dade County in the U.S. state of Florida, between Biscayne National Park to the east and Everglades National Park to the west. Homestead is primarily a Miami suburb and a major agricultural area. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
Homestead was incorporated in 1913 and is the second oldest city in Miami-Dade County next to the city of Miami. It is located approximately 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Miami, and 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Key Largo. The name originates from when the Florida East Coast Railway extension to Key West was being built. The rail line was passing through an area opened up for homesteading, and as the construction camp at the end of the line did not have a particular name, construction materials and supplies for the workers were consigned to "Homestead Country", shortened to "Homestead" by the engineers who mapped the area. The population was 60,512 at the 2010 census. Homestead and neighboring South Miami-Dade County communities bore the brunt of Category 5 Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992.
The city of Homestead is located near the southern terminus of the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike where it ends at its junction with U.S. 1. Homestead is immediately north and east of Florida City, and these two cities comprise the greater Homestead-Florida City area. Some of the notable unincorporated communities in the area are Redland, Leisure City, Naranja, and Princeton.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Homestead FL
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare 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 before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering 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 certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can A Medical Assistant Do. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Homestead FL.
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