Medical Assistant Classes Near Me Lakewood WA

How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training School near Lakewood Washington

Lakewood WA medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lakewood WA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges 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 available.

The Duties of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Lakewood WA nursing home patientThe role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Lakewood WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving basic support during examinations and procedures

While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Training

Compared to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Lakewood WA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving 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

woman attending medical assistant school online in Lakewood WAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Lakewood WA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the ideal option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Programs for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lakewood WA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty 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 Colleges

Questions to ask Lakewood WA medical assistant programsBefore you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Lakewood WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Lakewood WA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.

Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Lakewood WA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Lakewood medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Lakewood WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might 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 increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lakewood WA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lakewood Washington?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lakewood WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood was officially incorporated on February 28, 1996. Historical names include Tacoma/Lakewood Center and Lakes District (this name was used by the U.S. Census in the 1970 and 1980 Census). Lakewood is the second-largest city in Pierce County and is home to the Clover Park School District, the Lakewood Water District, Fort Steilacoom Park and Western State Hospital, a regional state psychiatric hospital.[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.95 square miles (49.08 km2), of which, 17.17 square miles (44.47 km2) is land and 1.78 square miles (4.61 km2) is water.[2]

There are several lakes within the city limits; the largest in area are American Lake, Lake Steilacoom, Gravelly Lake, Lake Louise, and Waughop Lake. A number of small creeks flow through Lakewood, some of which drain into nearby Puget Sound. The largest of these, Chambers Creek, flows from Lake Steilacoom to Chambers Bay between nearby University Place and Steilacoom.

Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Lakewood WA

Lakewood WA medical assistant studentIt’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. 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 discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes Near Me. 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 choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lakewood WA.

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