How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Kingston Washington
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kingston WA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several 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 responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Kingston WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting 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
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options available 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
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Kingston WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Kingston WA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Kingston WA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Kingston WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Kingston WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically 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, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Kingston WA area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Kingston healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Kingston 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 an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small 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 convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingston WA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Kingston Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kingston WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kingston (formerly Appletree Cove) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. The population was 2,099 at the 2010 census. Kingston is along the shores of Appletree Cove and the Puget Sound, and is home to a major Washington State Ferry terminal linking it to Edmonds.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 km²), of which, 1.6 square miles (4.3 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.0 km²) of it (32.10%) is water.
Founded in 1853 by Benjamin Bannister the community was originally known as Appletree Cove, By 1880 it was a lumber town until the mill closed down in the early 20th century. But the local lumber yard is still in business today, owned by Tom Waggoner. Known as the "Little city by the sea", Kingston is the northern gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. Now it is the social and economic center of the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Kingston WA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Duties. But irrespective of the type 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 supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kingston WA.
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