How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Wilkes Barre PA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided 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 function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Wilkes Barre PA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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 Training Programs
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Wilkes Barre PA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Wilkes Barre PA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Wilkes Barre PA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including 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 reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Wilkes Barre PA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Wilkes Barre PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting 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, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Wilkes Barre PA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Wilkes Barre health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Wilkes Barre PA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication 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 greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wilkes Barre PA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Wilkes Barre PA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Wilkes-Barre (/ˈwɪlksˌbɛər/ or /-bɛəri/) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Luzerne County. It is one of the principal cities in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located at the center of the Wyoming Valley, it is second in size to the nearby city of Scranton. The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 563,631 as of the 2010 Census, making it the fourth-largest metro/statistical area in the state of Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding Wyoming Valley are framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the west, and the Lehigh Valley to the south. The Susquehanna River flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.
Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century after the discovery of nearby coal reserves and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provided a labor force for the local mines. The coal mining fueled industrialization in the city, which reached the height of its prosperity in the first half of the 20th century. Its population peaked at more than 86,000. Following World War II, the city's economy declined due to the collapse of industry. The Knox Mine disaster accelerated this trend after large portions of the area's coal mines were flooded and could not be reopened. Today the city has a population of 40,569, making it the largest city in Luzerne County and the 13th-largest city in Pennsylvania.
By the 18th century, the Wyoming Valley was inhabited by the Shawanese and Delaware Indian (Lenape) tribes. In 1753, the Susquehanna Company was founded in Connecticut for settling the Wyoming Valley (in modern-day Pennsylvania). Connecticut succeeded in purchasing the land from the Native Americans; however, Pennsylvania already claimed the very same territory through a purchase they made in 1736. In 1762, roughly two hundred Connecticut settlers (Yankees) established a settlement near Mill Creek. They planted wheat and constructed log cabins. The Yankees returned to New England for the winter.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Wilkes Barre PA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective 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 obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Courses Near Me. But irrespective of the kind 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Wilkes Barre PA.
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