How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School near Eastsound Washington
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Eastsound WA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost 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 alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Eastsound WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based 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 providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Eastsound 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 essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare 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.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Eastsound WA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Eastsound WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Eastsound WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Eastsound WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’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 college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Eastsound WA area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Eastsound healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that initial job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Eastsound WA area and find out 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 health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eastsound WA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Eastsound Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Eastsound WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Eastsound is the largest population center on Orcas Island, the second-most populated (after San Juan Island) and physically largest of the San Juan Islands. Eastsound consists of a few hotels and several restaurants, numerous gift stores, a large downtown grocery store, natural food store, hardware store, pharmacy, airport, and several churches. There is a public park that hosts events including the farmers market. Indian Island is just offshore Eastsound's public beach. Eastsound's scenic location makes it a popular tourist destination. Eastsound, Washington is known for its community events, recreation and tourism. Half a mile north of Eastsound is Orcas Island Airport, with scheduled service to Seattle, Bellingham, Anacortes, Friday Harbor and Lopez Island and unscheduled service to many other locations. Moran State Park is located nearby.
The first inhabitants of Eastsound were the Lummi tribe, who were often raided by the warlike Haida, who traveled from Southeast Alaska in massive war canoes to attack the Lummis, for the purpose of slaving. The Haida had a distinct advantage, armed with flintlock rifles obtained from Russian traders. The first white people arrived in the 1850s, employees of the Hudson's Bay Company sent from the Fort Victoria post to hunt deer. These trappers brought smallpox, which, combined with the brutal Haida attacks, significantly reduced the native population.
One of the first European settlers of Eastsound was Charles Shattuck, who built a log cabin and operated a store in the late 1850s. Other early inhabitants of note included Michael Adams, a prospector and trapper from Pennsylvania and horticulturalist who planted the first apple orchard on Orcas. Belle Langell was the first white child born on Orcas, the daughter of Ephraim and Rosa Langell, who homesteaded near Michael Adams in present-day Eastsound. The Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Eastsound, Washington) was the first church on Orcas Island, was built in 1885, by the Reverend Sidney Robert Spencer Gray, on a plot of land deeded from Charles Shattuck.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Program Eastsound WA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Training School. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Eastsound WA.
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