How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Willow Grove Pennsylvania
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Willow Grove PA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Willow Grove PA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based 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 support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Pennsylvania law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Willow Grove PA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created 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 typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Willow Grove PA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Willow Grove PA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly 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 examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Willow Grove PA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Willow Grove PA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, 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 methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Willow Grove PA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Willow Grove health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Willow Grove PA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Willow Grove PA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Willow Grove Pennsylvania?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Willow Grove PA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Willow Grove is a census-designated place (CDP) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. A community in Philadelphia's northern suburbs, the population was 15,726 at the 2010 census. It is located in Upper Dublin Township, Abington Township and Upper Moreland Township. Willow Grove was once known for Willow Grove Park, an amusement park that was open from 1896 to 1976, now the site of Willow Grove Park Mall. Willow Grove is considered an edge city of Philadelphia with large amounts of retail and office space.
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove was located northwest of the Willow Grove CDP in Horsham Township. NAS JRB Willow Grove transitioned into Horsham Air National Guard Station in September 2011.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2), of which 0.28% is water. It has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and its hardiness zone is 7a.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Program Willow Grove PA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Be A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Willow Grove PA.
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