How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Albany Indiana
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Albany IN, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Albany IN clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may 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 verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Indiana law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Albany IN health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Albany IN area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Albany IN medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly 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 examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Albany IN with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you choose 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 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Albany IN employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Albany IN area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Albany health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Albany IN area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Albany IN, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Albany Indiana?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Albany IN area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Albany IN
It’s important 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 launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools 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, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Associate Degree. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Albany IN.
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