How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Dallesport Washington
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dallesport WA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Dallesport WA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Washington law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Dallesport 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 essentially two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical 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 usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized as well. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Dallesport WA area medical 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 may be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Dallesport WA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Dallesport WA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when assessing schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Dallesport WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Dallesport WA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Dallesport health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Dallesport 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 healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere 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 choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dallesport WA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dallesport Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dallesport WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Traditionally a site of the Wishram tribe (Called Echeloots by Lewis and Clark), who lived on the north bank of the Columbia about 10 miles in both directions from The Dalles, Oregon. Although the Wishrams were included in the Treaty of Yakima, they resisted removal to the Yakama Reservation. Indian burials from Memaloose Island in the Columbia were removed to the Wish-ham Cemetery near Dallesport prior to the filling of Lake Celilo. The loss of their traditional fishing grounds at Celilo Falls during the construction of The Dalles Dam in March 1957 dealt both a spiritual and an economic blow to the tribe.
Originally called Rockport or Rockland Flats, this was the site of the first ferry crossing in the area, beginning in 1854. Rockland Flats was the original seat of Clickitat County (The name of the county was spelled with a 'C' until an official name change in 1869), and remained so until 1878. Riverboat traffic moved up and down the river, but could not pass the falls at the Dalles and Celilo Falls. Portage was originally via a 19-mile-long (31 km) wagon road circumventing the falls. The Oregon Portage Railroad allowed passage of goods and travelers by rail beginning in 1863, but shippers chafed at the monopoly. In 1905, Congress approved 8.5-mile canal with locks on the north shore to bypass the falls. The Dalles-Celilo Canal opened May 5, 1915. The canal incorporated 5 locks with a total 90-foot lift. The canal remained in use until it was flooded by the Dalles Dam in 1957.
The idea of a bridge crossing at this location was talked about beginning in the late 19th century, but was not approved until 1947. The Dalles Bridge remained unbuilt until Congress approved the Dalles Dam in 1951. The bridge was opened December 18, 1953.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Dallesport WA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools 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 certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Duties. But regardless of the kind 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Dallesport WA.
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