How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Clearlake Washington
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clearlake WA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential 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 cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Clearlake WA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Washington law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Education
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Clearlake WA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some 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 alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Clearlake WA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Clearlake WA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered 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 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Clearlake WA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify 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. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Clearlake WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Clearlake WA area healthcare providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Clearlake health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Clearlake WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clearlake 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 have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Clearlake Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Clearlake WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
NetMotion Software is a privately held software company specializing in mobile performance management. Founded in 2001 and based in Seattle, Washington, NetMotion develops software for organizations with mobile workforces designed to allow them to manage, optimize, accelerate and secure traffic to mobile devices. The company's software is used in utilities, healthcare, telecommunication, public safety, government, insurance and manufacturing.
The company was formed in 2001 as a spin-off from WRQ, Inc. In 2006, NetMotion merged with Padcom, Inc. In September 2010 and again in 2011. In September 2012, NetMotion was acquired by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. Under Clearlake's ownership, NetMotion expanded into the European and Asia Pacific markets seeking additional growth. In July 2016, Christopher Kenessey was named CEO, then in August of that same year NetMotion was acquired by The Carlyle Group.
The bulk of the company's operations are located at the North American headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Three sales offices in Europe handle international sales including sales into Australia, New Zealand and several African countries.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course Clearlake WA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Schools 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 provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Clearlake WA.
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