How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training School near Wilmington North Carolina
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Wilmington NC, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may decide to look into 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 must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Wilmington NC hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under North Carolina law, some elect 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Wilmington NC health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Wilmington NC area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Wilmington NC medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, 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 restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Wilmington NC with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Wilmington NC employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’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. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Wilmington NC area medical care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Wilmington healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Wilmington NC area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wilmington NC, make sure 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 any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Wilmington North Carolina?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Wilmington NC area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Wilmington, North Carolina
With a population of 119,045 in 2017, it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.
Wilmington was settled by the English along the Cape Fear River. The city was named after Spencer Compton who was the Earl of Wilmington. Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction in the late 20th century. In 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was ranked as the "Best American Riverfront" by readers of USA Today. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Wilmington as one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents live between the river and the ocean, with four nearby beach communities: Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington.
In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress as a "Coast Guard City". It is the home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. The World War II battleship USS North Carolina is held as a war memorial; moored across from the downtown port area, the ship is open to public tours. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, and the Wilmington Hammerheads United Soccer Leagues soccer team. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Wilmington NC
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning 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 acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Wilmington NC.
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