How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Palatka Florida
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Palatka FL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Palatka FL hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support 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 many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Florida law, some prefer to specialize in a specific 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Palatka FL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. 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 might be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Palatka FL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Palatka FL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Palatka FL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when researching 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 ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the school you choose 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 must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Palatka FL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, 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 methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Palatka FL area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Palatka medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Palatka FL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Palatka FL, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may 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 issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Palatka Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Palatka FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Palatka (pronounced puh-lat-kuh) is a city in Putnam County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,558 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Putnam County. Palatka is the principal city of the Palatka Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is home to 72,893 residents. The city is also home to St. Johns River State College, St. Johns River Water Management District Headquarters, and Ravine Gardens State Park. The area is well known for its local festivals, most notably the Florida Azalea Festival and the Blue Crab Festival.
The area was once the domain of the Timucuan peoples, two tribes of which existed in the Palatka region under chiefs Saturiwa and Utina. They fished bass and mullet, or hunted deer, turkeys, bear and opossum. Others farmed beans, corn, melons, squash, and tobacco. However, infectious disease that came with European contact and war devastated the tribes, and they were extinct by the mid-18th century. The last people evacuated with the Spanish to Cuba in 1763, when Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain after the Seven Years' War.
During the late eighteenth century, remnants of Creek and other tribes made their way to Florida. In a process of ethnogenesis, the Seminole tribe was formed. They called the location Pilo-taikita, meaning "crossing over" or "cows' crossing". Here the St. Johns River narrows and begins a shallower, winding course upstream to Lake George and Lake Monroe.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program Palatka FL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Palatka FL.
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