How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Slidell Louisiana
Once you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Slidell LA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate 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 issues also. You may choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Slidell LA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Louisiana law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Slidell LA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Slidell LA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Slidell LA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Slidell LA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction 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 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Slidell LA 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 schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Slidell LA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Slidell healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Slidell LA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
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 college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Slidell LA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Slidell Louisiana?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Slidell LA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Slidell /slaɪˈdɛl/ is a city on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 27,068 at the 2010 census. Greater Slidell has a population of about 90,000. It is part of the New Orleans−Metairie−Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area.
One of the earlier settlers to the area was John William Gause. Along with a younger brother, Wesley Coke Asbury Gause, Judge Wingate, and several others, he left Shallotte, North Carolina, on February 18, and arrived at Pearlington, Mississippi, on April 14, 1836. Wesley and his family remained there, while John and family crossed the Pearl River and built a log cabin on the west bank, a little further south. He then began a lumber mill in the fledgling town later known as Slidell. His traveling back and forth from lumber yard to home created a road known today as Gause Boulevard, a major east/west street in the town. The lumber yard was where Gause Boulevard crosses the railroad track. The log cabin was built at the east end of the road, just a few yards from the river. The house stood until the late 1990s, and a small family burial plot still remains where John is buried between his two wives, Lydia Russ and Johanna Frederica VanHeemskerk.
Slidell was founded on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1882 and 1883 during construction of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (N.O.N.E.). The N.O.N.E. line connected New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The town was named in honor of American politician and Confederate ambassador to France John Slidell, father-in-law of real estate developer Baron Frederic Emile d'Erlanger, and officially chartered by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1888.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Slidell LA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as 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 Where Can I Get My Medical Assistant Certification. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Slidell LA.
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