How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Bainbridge Island Washington
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bainbridge Island WA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their job is to make sure that the Bainbridge Island WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Washington law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Bainbridge Island WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option 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 diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Bainbridge Island WA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Bainbridge Island WA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Bainbridge Island 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 factors that you should examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, 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 College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 approved 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Bainbridge Island WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’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. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 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 complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Bainbridge Island WA area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Bainbridge Island medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bainbridge Island WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bainbridge Island WA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bainbridge Island Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bainbridge Island WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Bainbridge Island is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States, and is coextensive with the eponymous island in Puget Sound. The population was 23,025 at the 2010 census, making Bainbridge Island the second largest city in Kitsap County.
For thousands of years, members of the Suquamish tribe and their ancestors lived on the land now called Bainbridge Island. There were nine villages located on the island; this included winter villages at Port Madison, Battle Point, Point White, Lynwood Center, Port Blakely, and Eagle Harbor, as well as summer villages at Manzanita, Fletcher Bay, and Rolling Bay.
In 1792, English explorer Captain George Vancouver spent several days with his ship HMS Discovery anchored off Restoration Point at the southern end of Bainbridge Island while boat parties surveyed other parts of Puget Sound. Vancouver spent a day exploring Rich Passage, Port Orchard, and Sinclair Inlet. He failed to find Agate Passage and so his maps show Bainbridge Island as a peninsula. Vancouver named Restoration Point on May 29, the anniversary of the English Restoration, in honor of King Charles II.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Bainbridge Island WA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But regardless 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Bainbridge Island WA.
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