How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Program near North Pole Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near North Pole AK, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the North Pole AK hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type 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 nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Alaska law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of North Pole AK health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in North Pole AK area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible North Pole AK medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to North Pole AK with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin 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 must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential North Pole AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out 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 of course you will need to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with North Pole AK area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the North Pole healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the North Pole AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Pole AK, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near North Pole Alaska?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the North Pole AK area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000. Despite its name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole was home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism, but closed because of sulofane contamination in ground water. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, was a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training North Pole AK
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Registered Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in North Pole AK.
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