How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Vashon Washington
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Vashon WA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Vashon WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Vashon WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Vashon WA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options 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. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Vashon WA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as 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 alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Vashon WA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you choose 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 accepted 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Vashon WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Vashon WA area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Vashon medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Vashon WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can 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 furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vashon WA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask 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 Vashon Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Vashon WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Vashon is a census-designated place (CDP) in King County, Washington, United States. It covers an island alternately called Vashon Island or Vashon-Maury Island, the largest island in Puget Sound south of Admiralty Inlet. The population was 10,624 at the 2010 census and the size is 37 square miles (96 km2). There are no bridges to connect the island with the mainland, and this contributes to the island's relative isolation and rural character.
Vashon Island sits in the midpoint of southern Puget Sound, between Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. The first non-American Indian to chart this island was Captain George Vancouver, during his surveys of the Puget Sound area with the British Royal Navy. Originally, a smaller island sat to Vashon Island's southeast side. Captain Vancouver named the main island Vashon after a fellow captain in 1792. Fifty years later, the smaller island was given the name Maury Island after a British navy crew-mate. These two landmasses remained separated by water until local landowners decided to build an earth bridge, or isthmus, linking them together in 1916. Therefore, the two-piece isle was renamed Vashon-Maury Island. Between the two sections, it covers nearly 40 square miles.
The island was named on May 28, 1792, by the explorer George Vancouver after his friend James Vashon of the Royal Navy. Starting in 1824, different explorer and settler groups stayed on Vashon Island. The first logging on the island began in 1852. By 1855–1856, the S'Homamish people were interned at Fox Island. European-Americans settled Vashon Island between 1865 and 1890. During that time the main economies on the island were fishing and logging.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Vashon WA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college 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 practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering 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, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Requirements. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Vashon WA.
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