How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Edmonds Washington
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Edmonds WA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean 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 critical issues as well. You might want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Edmonds WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Washington law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available 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 required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Edmonds WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. 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 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the time to attend 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 pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Edmonds WA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Edmonds WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Edmonds WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Edmonds WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’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 school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Edmonds WA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Edmonds medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Edmonds WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can 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 likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Edmonds WA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Edmonds Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Edmonds WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Edmonds is a city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. It is located in the southwest corner of the county, facing Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the west. The city is part of the Seattle metropolitan area and is located 15 miles (24 km) north of Seattle and 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Everett. With a population of 39,709 residents in the 2010 U.S. census, Edmonds is the fourth most populous city in the county. The estimated population in 2015 was 40,490.
Edmonds was established in 1876 by logger George Brackett, who bought the land claim of an earlier settler. It was incorporated as a city in 1890, shortly before the arrival of the Great Northern Railway. Early residents of the city were employed by the shingle mills and logging companies that operated in the area until the 1950s. The hills surrounding Edmonds were developed into suburban bedroom communities in the mid-to-late 20th century and subsequently annexed into the city. Edmonds is a regional hub for the arts, with museums, specialized facilities, and major annual festivals within the city's downtown area.
The city is connected to nearby areas by two state highways and the state ferry system, which operates a ferry route to Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula. Public transit service in Edmonds is centered around the downtown train station, served by Amtrak and Sounder commuter trains, and includes several Community Transit bus routes that travel through outlying neighborhoods.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Edmonds WA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. 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 covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 Years Of School. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Edmonds WA.
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