Online Medical Assistant Certification Programs Bellevue WA

How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Bellevue Washington

Bellevue WA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bellevue WA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges 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 type of credentials and training that are available.

The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Bellevue WA nursing home patientThe duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Bellevue WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Providing general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Bellevue WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs

woman attending medical assistant school online in Bellevue WAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Bellevue WA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses 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, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Bellevue WA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.

Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Bellevue WA medical assistant programsBefore you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Bellevue WA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you select 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 school is not accredited by one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Bellevue WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.

What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Bellevue WA area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Bellevue medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Bellevue WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellevue WA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bellevue Washington?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bellevue WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue (/ˈbɛlvjuː/ BEL-vyoo) is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, across Lake Washington from Seattle. As the third-largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area, Bellevue has variously been characterized as an edge city, a suburb, boomburb, or satellite city.[4][5] Its population was 144,444 in a 2017 census estimate.

Prior to 2008, downtown Bellevue underwent rapid change, with many high rise projects under construction, and was relatively unaffected by the economic downturn. The downtown area is currently the second largest city center in Washington state with 1,300 businesses, 45,000 employees and 10,200 residents.[6] Based on per capita income, Bellevue is the 6th wealthiest of 522 communities in the state of Washington.[7] In 2008, Bellevue was named number 1 in CNNMoney's list of the best places to live and launch a business,[8] and in 2010 was again ranked as the 4th best place to live in America.[9] In 2014, Bellevue was ranked as the 2nd best place to live by USA Today.[10] More than 145 companies have been located in Bellevue. Current companies with headquarters in Bellevue include Expedia, T-Mobile and Valve Corporation.

Bellevue was settled in 1869 by William Meydenbauer and Aaron Mercer, who claimed homestead tracts several miles apart. Prior to the opening of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in 1940, Bellevue was a rural area with little development. Although it was small, developers were pushing to change that; in the 1920s, James S. Ditty predicted that it would become a city with a population of 200,000.[12] He envisioned plans that included the bridging of Lake Washington and an area filled with golf courses and airports.[13] His map with these visions was published in 1928.[13]

Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Bellevue WA

Bellevue WA medical assistant studentIt’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care 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 selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as 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 Online Medical Assistant Certification Programs. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Bellevue WA.

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