How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near West Point Virginia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near West Point VA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the West Point VA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing 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
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Virginia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of West Point VA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in West Point VA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential West Point VA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose 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 comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to West Point VA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective West Point VA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with West Point VA area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the West Point healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the West Point VA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near West Point VA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near West Point Virginia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the West Point VA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
West Point, Virginia
West Point is located at 37°32′37″N 76°48′19″W / 37.54361°N 76.80528°W / 37.54361; -76.80528 (37.543733, −76.805366). The York River is formed at West Point by the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers; from there, it separates the Virginia Peninsula and Middle Peninsula regions of eastern Virginia as it flows approximately 40 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17.2 km²), of which, 5.2 square miles (13.3 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km²) of it (23.12%) is water.
The current site of West Point was once the site of Cinquoteck, a Native American village of the local Mattaponi, an Algonquian-speaking tribe affiliated with the Powhatan Confederacy. During the first half of the 17th century, the Confederacy and the English colonists who established their first permanent settlement at Jamestown in 1607 were frequently in conflict. By mid-century, the Natives had been largely overcome, including the area of Cinquoteck, by the ever-expanding Colony of Virginia.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant School West Point VA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Is Medical Assistant Training. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in West Point VA.
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