How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Kirkland Washington
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kirkland WA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short 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 Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Kirkland WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible 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 fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Washington law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Kirkland WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade 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 classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those 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 degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Kirkland WA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform 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 individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Kirkland WA medical employers just will not hire 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Kirkland WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Kirkland WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program focused 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 just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Kirkland WA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Kirkland medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Kirkland WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school 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 school while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Kirkland WA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Kirkland Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kirkland WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kirkland is a city in King County, Washington, United States. A suburb east of Seattle, its population was 88,630 in a 2017 census estimate, which made it the sixth largest city in the county and the twelfth largest in the state.
Kirkland was the original home of the Seattle Seahawks; the NFL team's headquarters and training facility were located at the Lake Washington Shipyard (now Carillon Point) along Lake Washington for their first ten seasons (1976–85), then at nearby Northwest University through 2007. Warehouse chain Costco previously had its headquarters in Kirkland. While Costco is now headquartered in Issaquah, the city is the namesake of its "Kirkland Signature" store brand.
The 1982 Kirkland National Little League team won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. That event is the subject of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Little Big Men. It also was the home to Little League's 1992 Big League Softball World Series Champions representing the Eastside District Nine Leagues. Since 1999, Kirkland has been the home of the Little League Junior Softball World Series held each August at Kirkland's Everest Park.
Select the Right Medical Assistant College Kirkland WA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged 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 Classes. But regardless 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 compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kirkland WA.
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