How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Bellingham Washington
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Bellingham WA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean 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 important factors also. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Bellingham WA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Washington law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Training
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Bellingham WA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical component involving 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Bellingham WA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Bellingham WA medical employers simply 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Bellingham WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons to make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Bellingham WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Bellingham WA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Bellingham health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Bellingham WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bellingham WA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Bellingham Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Bellingham WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Bellingham (/ˈbɛlɪŋhæm/ BEL-ing-ham) is the largest city in and the county seat of Whatcom County in the U.S. state of Washington. It is the thirteenth-largest city in the state, with 86,720 residents as of April 1, 2017, per the Washington State Office of Financial Management, and is part of the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the state. The boundaries of the city encompass the former towns of Fairhaven, Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham.
Bellingham is the northernmost city with a population of almost 100,000 residents in the contiguous United States. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its easy access to outdoor recreation in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades as well as proximity to the cities of Vancouver and Seattle.
A waterfront redevelopment is underway on more than 100 acres of former industrial land. with a hotel, conference center, condos, retirement living, retail and commercial development on the site.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Bellingham WA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Courses Near Me. 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 supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Bellingham WA.
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