How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Cathlamet Washington
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cathlamet WA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is ensure that the Cathlamet WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting 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
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Education
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Cathlamet WA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Cathlamet WA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Cathlamet WA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 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 provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Cathlamet WA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, following 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 College Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Cathlamet WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 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. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Cathlamet WA area medical care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Cathlamet medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Cathlamet WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cathlamet WA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask 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 Cathlamet Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cathlamet WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cathlamet /kæθˈlæmɪt/ is a town located along the Ocean Beach Highway in Wahkiakum County, Washington, United States, where it is the county seat. The population was 532 at the 2010 census, though it has an additional rural population outside of the town limits.
From time immemorial, Cathlamet was the largest, or one of the largest, villages of Columbia River Indians west of the Cascade Mountains, and the home of the Kathlamet people. "Cathlamet was sighted in 1792 by Lt. W.R. Broughton, while verifying Capt. Robert Gray's reported exploration of the Columbia River." This village of cedar houses included 300-400 inhabitants when visited by Lewis and Clark.
In 1846, James Birnie became the first permanent white settler at Cathlamet, moving there after a career with the Hudson's Bay Company. He set up a trading post, remnants of which were reported still standing in 1906. "Birnie named the area Birnie's Retreat. The name was later changed to Cathlamet in 1851."
Select the Right Medical Assistant College Cathlamet WA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Bachelor Degree. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Cathlamet WA.
More Medical Locations in Washington