How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Lamont Washington
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lamont WA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their role is to make sure that the Lamont WA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. 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 nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Washington law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Lamont WA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Lamont WA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Lamont WA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Lamont WA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Lamont WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn 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 obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lamont WA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Lamont medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lamont WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lamont WA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lamont Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lamont WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lamont was officially incorporated on October 22, 1910. The town was named for former vice president of the Northern Pacific Railway, Daniel Lamont. Lamont was initially founded as a terminal of the Spokane Portland & Seattle Railway, a joint venture of the Jim Hill controlled railroads, Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railways. Lamont is on the Pasco-Spokane extension of the SP&S. The terminal included a depot, yard, 22 stall roundhouse and locomotive servicing facilities. These facilities included water and oil tanks for SP&S steam locomotives, and a 6 pocket coal dock for Northern Pacific Rwy steam locomotives. Crews from Spokane and Pasco would work to Lamont and lay over before working back home again. But the railroad shortly reconsidered the remote outpost of Lamont as a terminal, and when the roundhouse burned in 1913, crews started working through between Pasco and Spokane.
Trains still stopped at Lamont for fuel and water. In fact in the midst of the World War II, a steel coal dock from the Great Northern in Montana was moved to Lamont to replace the aging wooden dock in 1944. Steam locomotives last passed through Lamont on June 22, 1956, with diesel-electric locomotives hauling the trains thereafter. Fueling facilities for the diesel locomotives had been constructed at Lamont after WWII, but were abandoned in 1957 when they began to fuel in Pasco.
Lamont contributed a healthy amount of traffic to the railroad in the form of grain and livestock over the years. The grain elevators still stand as a landmark in town. In 1970 the "Hill Lines"; Great Northern Railway, Northern Pacific Railway, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway, and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway all merged to form the Burlington Northern Railroad. After the merger, the SP&S and NP lines between Pasco and Spokane were used like double track, with heavy lumber traffic running east over the easier grades of the former SP&S and westbound traffic on the former NP. But as export grain business began to surge in the late 1970s, the direction was flipped and the heavy grain trains began running west over the former SP&S through Lamont. Following the bad recession of the early 1980s, BN began to look at ways to reduce the amount of its track in Washington State. The former SP&S line didn't have much online business, and had issues with rockfall on the south end and flooding on the north end. In the mid 1980s, BN upgraded the former NP between Spokane and Pasco and moved all the through trains off the former SP&S in 1987. In 1991 the track was removed and the State of Washington obtained the former railroad line as a trail. Some remains of the roundhouse and service facilities still remain.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Lamont WA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch 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 so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Program. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Lamont WA.
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