How to Select a Medical Assistant Training Program near Maple Falls Washington
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maple Falls WA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching 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, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Maple Falls WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some elect 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Maple Falls WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be carried out in Maple Falls WA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Maple Falls WA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Maple Falls WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in 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 qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Maple Falls 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 develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’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 college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Maple Falls WA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Maple Falls medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Maple Falls WA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Maple Falls WA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will 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 Maple Falls Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Maple Falls WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Maple Falls, Washington
Maple Falls is located on the Mount Baker Highway, east of Bellingham, three miles east of a junction at Kendall, with State Route 547, which connects over a low pass on the northeast flank of Sumas Mountain to Sumas and the border crossing with Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Maple Falls has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.
Among the first settlers of Maple Falls was Herbert Everant Leavitt, a native of Melbourne, Quebec, Canada. After leaving Canada, Leavitt spent time in Truckee, California, where he worked as a carpenter before setting out for Columbia Township in Washington state. In 1888 Leavitt took up a homestead in Whatcom County where present-day Maple Falls is located. Leavitt packed his supplies in from Bellingham, Washington some 30 miles to his new farm. In subsequent years, besides farming, Leavitt operated a blacksmith shop at Maple Falls, was the proprietor of a Bellingham restaurant, and ran two hotels, in addition to serving as county constable for some 24 years.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant School Maple Falls WA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in National Certified Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend 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 selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Maple Falls WA.
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