How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near West Palm Beach Florida
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Palm Beach FL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the West Palm Beach FL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Florida law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of West Palm Beach FL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics 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 available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education 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 commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice 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 options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in West Palm Beach FL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential West Palm Beach FL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to West Palm Beach FL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 acknowledged 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective West Palm Beach FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with West Palm Beach FL area medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the West Palm Beach health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the West Palm Beach FL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates 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 Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near West Palm Beach FL, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Palm Beach Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Palm Beach FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is located immediately to the west of the adjacent Palm Beach, which is situated on a barrier island across the Lake Worth Lagoon. The population was 100,343 (revised) at the 2010 census. The US Census estimates a 2016 population of 108,896, a 7.9% increase from 2010.
It is the oldest incorporated municipality in the Miami metropolitan area, having been incorporated as a city two years before Miami in November 1894. West Palm Beach is located approximately 68 miles (109 km) north of Downtown Miami. The estimated population of the Miami metropolitan area, which includes all of Palm Beach County, was 6,012,331 people at the 2015 census.
The beginning of the historic period in south Florida is marked by Juan Ponce de León's first contact with native people in 1513. Europeans found a thriving native population, which they categorized into separate tribes: the Mayaimi in the Lake Okeechobee Basin and the Jaega and Ais people in the East Okeechobee area and on the east coast north of the Tequesta. When the Spanish arrived, there were perhaps about 20,000 Native Americans in south Florida. By 1763, when the English gained control of Florida, the native peoples had all but been wiped out through war, enslavement, or European diseases.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School West Palm Beach FL
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if 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 obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays 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 decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in West Palm Beach FL.
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