Medical Assistant Trade School Urbandale IA

How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Urbandale Iowa

Urbandale IA medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Urbandale IA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools 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 credentials and training that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Urbandale IA nursing home patientThe function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Urbandale IA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing basic support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Iowa law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Education

In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Urbandale IA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade 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 training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Courses

woman attending medical assistant school online in Urbandale IAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Urbandale IA 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 education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical 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 a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Urbandale IA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Urbandale IA medical assistant programsPrior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Urbandale IA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Urbandale IA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Urbandale IA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Urbandale health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Urbandale IA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Urbandale IA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Urbandale Iowa?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Urbandale IA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Urbandale, Iowa

Urbandale is a city in Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 39,463. It is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Urbandale was incorporated as a city on April 16, 1917. In its early days, Urbandale served as a streetcar suburb of Des Moines with four coal mines. Urbandale served as the end of the "Urbandale Line" after plans to build a railroad from Des Moines to Woodward were abandoned because of right-of-way issues. The coal mines had closed by the end of the 1940s while streetcar service ended in 1951.

In 1920, shortly after the city incorporated, Urbandale had 298 people. Its population in 1950 was 1,777, but the city grew rapidly after that along with the rest of Des Moines' suburbs. By 1970 Urbandale had 14,434 people, and in 2000 it had 29,072.[4] Although most of the city's developed area is in Polk County, Urbandale has expanded westward into Dallas County in recent years.

Select the Right Medical Assistant College Urbandale IA

Urbandale IA medical assistant studentIt’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select 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 Trade School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision 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 ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Urbandale IA.

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