How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Kelso Washington
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kelso WA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start 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 Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Kelso WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations 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 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 healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Kelso WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics 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 offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be performed in Kelso WA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Kelso WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. 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). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Kelso WA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the school 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 intend to become certified, you need to 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 one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Kelso WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on 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 ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools 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 acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Kelso WA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Kelso healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Kelso WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kelso WA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask 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 Kelso Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kelso WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kelso is a city in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Washington and is the county seat of Cowlitz County. At the 2010 census, the population was 11,925. Kelso is part of the Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 102,410. Kelso shares its long western border with Longview. It is near Mount St. Helens.
The earliest known inhabitants of Kelso were Native Americans from the Cowlitz tribe. The Cowlitz people were separated into the Upper (or Taidnapam) and Lower (or Mountain) Cowlitz tribes, who were members of the Sahaptin and Salish language families, respectively. In 1855, European explorers noted that there numbered over 6000 individuals of the Cowlitz Tribe.
Kelso was founded by Peter W. Crawford, a Scottish surveyor, who, in 1847, took up the first donation land claim on the Lower Cowlitz River. Crawford platted a townsite which he named after his home town of Kelso, Scotland. The original plat was dated and filed in October 1884. It became incorporated in 1889.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Kelso WA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Schools Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kelso WA.
More Medical Locations in Washington
Business Results 1 - 10 of 10