How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Foster Rhode Island
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 Foster RI, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Foster RI hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Rhode Island law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Foster RI health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate 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 applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Foster RI area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Foster RI medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Foster RI with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Foster RI employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Foster RI area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students establish relationships within the Foster medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Foster RI area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Foster RI, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Foster Rhode Island?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Foster RI area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Foster, Rhode Island
Foster was originally settled in the 17th century by British colonists as a farming community. In the year 1662, William Vaughan, Zachariah Rhodes, and Robert Wescott, purchased of the Indians a large tract of land called West Quanaug, bordering on Providence. The 'West Quanaug purchase', consisted of nearly the whole southern half of the town of Foster. The first settler was allegedly Ezekiel Hopkins. Many settlers from Newport were active in the town in the 18th century. Shortly before the incorporation of the town, Foster's first church, a Calvinist Baptist congregation was founded. Shortly afterwards, Six Principle Baptist and Free Will Baptist congregations were founded.
Foster was incorporated with Scituate, Rhode Island in 1730, forming the western section of that township, and remained part of Scituate until 1781, when it was split off as a distinct and separate township. Foster derived its name, from U.S. Senator Theodore Foster. Mr. Foster presented the town with a library. Some of the library's original books and town records are still preserved. U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich was born in Foster in 1841. Senator Aldrich was instrumental in starting the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.
In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan was active in the area, and one of the largest Klan rallies in the state was held in Foster on the Old Home Day grounds in 1924 with 8,000 in attendance and U.S. Senator J. Thomas Heflin of Alabama speaking.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Foster RI
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate 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 life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before 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 discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. 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 selecting the right program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Foster RI.
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