How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Centralia Washington
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Centralia WA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several 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 role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Centralia WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working 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
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some choose 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 Training
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Centralia WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually 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.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good option for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working 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 including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Centralia WA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Centralia WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Centralia WA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Centralia WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to 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 need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Centralia WA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Centralia medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Centralia WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience 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 to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Centralia WA, make certain that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Centralia Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Centralia WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
In the 1850s and 1860s, Centralia's Borst Home at the confluence of the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers was the site of a toll ferry, and the halfway stopping point for stagecoaches operating between Kalama, Washington and Tacoma. In 1850, J. G. Cochran and his wife Anna were led there via the Oregon Trail by their adopted son George Washington, a free African-American, as the family feared he would be forced into slavery if they stayed in Missouri after the passage of the Compromise of 1850. Cochran filed a donation land claim near the Borst Home in 1852, and was able to sell his claim to Washington for $6000 because unlike the neighboring Oregon Territory, there was no restriction against passing legal ownership of land to negroes in the newly formed Washington Territory.
Upon hearing of the imminent arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway (NP) in 1872, George Washington filed a plat for the town of Centerville, naming the streets after biblical references and offering lots for $10 each, with one lot free to buyers who built houses. Finding that another town in the south-central part of the state bore the same name, the town was officially incorporated as Centralia on February 3, 1886, so dubbed by a recent settler from Centralia, Illinois. The town's population boomed, then collapsed in the Panic of 1893, when the NP went bankrupt; entire city blocks were offered for as little as $50 with no takers. Washington (despite facing racial prejudice from some newcomers) made personal loans and forgave debt to keep the town afloat until the economy stabilized; the city then boomed again based on the coal, lumber and dairying industries. On his death in 1905, all businesses in the town closed, and 5000 mourners attended his funeral.
The boom lasted until November 11, 1919, when the infamous Centralia Massacre occurred. Spurred on by local lumber barons, American Legionnaires (many of whom had returned from WWI to find their jobs filled by pro-union members of the Industrial Workers of the World), used that day's Armistice Day parade to attack the IWW hall. Marching with loaded weapons, the Legionnaires broke from the parade and stormed the hall in an effort to bust union organizing efforts by what was seen to be a Bolshevik-inspired labor movement. Though it remains a point of controversy as to who fired first, IWW workers including recently returned WWI veteran Wesley Everest engaged and killed four Legionnaires; Everest was captured, jailed and then lynched, and other IWW members jailed. The event made international headlines, and coupled with similar actions in Everett, Washington and other lumber towns, stifled the American labor movement until the economic devastation of the 1930s Great Depression changed opinions about labor organizations.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Centralia 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 goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Become A Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Centralia WA.
More Medical Locations in Washington
Business Results 1 - 10 of 45