How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near College Place Washington
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near College Place WA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the College Place WA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices available 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many College Place WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 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 normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical 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 frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in College Place WA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential College Place WA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to College Place WA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential College Place WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring 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 closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with College Place WA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the College Place health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the College Place WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near College Place WA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near College Place Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the College Place WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
College Place, Washington
College Place is the home of Walla Walla University (formerly Walla Walla College, thus the city's name), a Seventh-day Adventist operated liberal arts University. Because of the primary Adventist population, most downtown College Place businesses close on Saturday, reopening in most cases on Sunday. College Avenue is the main street running North to South from Highway 12 to the Milton-Freewater Highway.
As of the census of 2010, there were 8,765 people, 3,523 households, and 2,096 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,295.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,272.2/km2). There were 3,764 housing units at an average density of 1,415.0 per square mile (546.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.7% White, 1.6% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 6.8% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.5% of the population.
There were 3,523 households of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.5% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.85.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Course College Place WA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Registered Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in College Place WA.
More Medical Locations in Washington