How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Everett Washington
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Everett WA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by checking out 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 very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on 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 examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask each 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 kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their job is ensure that the Everett WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Everett WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Everett WA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Everett WA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Everett WA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Everett WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Everett WA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Everett medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Finding that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Everett WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication 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 offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Everett WA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Everett Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Everett WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Everett is the county seat of and the largest city in Snohomish County, Washington, United States. It is located 25 miles (40 km) north of Seattle and is one of the main cities in the metropolitan area and Puget Sound region. Everett is the seventh-largest city in Washington state and had a total population of 103,019 at the 2010 census. The city is located at the mouth of the Snohomish River along Port Gardner Bay, an inlet of Possession Sound (itself part of Puget Sound).
American settlement on the Everett peninsula began in the 1860s, with several sawmills built to serve the area's growing timber industry. Everett was platted by a group of investors seeking to build an industrial city and named for the son of co-founder Charles L. Colby. The city was incorporated in 1893, shortly after the arrival of the Great Northern Railway, and prospered as a major industrial center. Everett's economy transitioned away from lumber and towards aviation after World War II, with the construction of Boeing's aircraft assembly plant at Paine Field in 1967. Boeing remains the city's largest employer, alongside the U.S. Navy, which has operated Naval Station Everett since 1992. Everett received an All-America City Award in 2002.
Everett remains a major employment center for Snohomish County, but has also become a bedroom community for Seattle in recent decades. It is connected to Seattle by Interstate 5 and various public transit services at Everett Station, including the Sounder commuter train, Amtrak, and commuter buses.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Everett WA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant School Time. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Everett WA.
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