How to Select a Medical Assistant School near Lake Helen Florida
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Helen FL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to 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 should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Lake Helen FL clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Florida law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered 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 earn a college degree. However, a number of Lake Helen 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 essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about 1 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 alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Lake Helen FL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Lake Helen FL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Lake Helen FL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Lake Helen FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lake Helen FL area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Lake Helen healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Lake Helen 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 health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Helen FL, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lake Helen Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lake Helen FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lake Helen, Florida
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (11.8 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2) (2.82%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,743 people, 1,124 households, and 774 families residing in the city. The population density was 650.1 inhabitants per square mile (251.0/km²). There were 1,204 housing units at an average density of 285.3 per square mile (110.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.02% White, 10.68% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.95% of the population.
There were 1,124 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.1% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Lake Helen FL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate 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 must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training Cost. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lake Helen FL.
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