Medical Assistant Education Maple Valley WA

How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Maple Valley Washington

Maple Valley WA medical assistant checking pulseNow that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Maple Valley WA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

medical assistant with Maple Valley WA nursing home patientThe role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Maple Valley WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. 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 physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
  • Giving general support during exams and procedures

Even though medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Programs

Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Maple Valley WA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.

Medical Assistant Online Classes

woman attending medical assistant school online in Maple Valley WAThere are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might 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 to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Maple Valley WA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Maple Valley WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Maple Valley WA medical assistant programsPrior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type 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 procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Maple Valley WA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Maple Valley WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.

What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Maple Valley WA area healthcare providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Maple Valley healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Maple Valley WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good 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 might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Maple Valley WA, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Maple Valley Washington?

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

Maple Valley, Washington

The area was settled in 1879 by three men who were improving a trail and brought their families in. When a name for a future community was proposed, the names Vine Maple Valley and Maple Ridge were suggested. A vote was taken by writing the names on slips of paper and placing them in a hat. Vine Maple Valley won by 2/3, but the word "Vine" was later cut by the post office because it made the name too long.

The town's early history mainly had to do with coal, lumber milling to build homes, and a railroad that ran through town. Coal was brought in from Black Diamond to the south, but the town itself also mined coal from Cedar Mountain. The mine was used as late as 1947. Rail workers for lines like the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Cedar River Watershed, closed off by the City of Seattle, meant more workers for those things. More residents meant more lumber milling. More lumber milling meant more workers. Suquamish tribe chairperson Martha George was born near Maple Valley in Sheridan in 1892, at a logging camp where her mother and grandmother worked as cooks."[5]

The town grew inward. Blacksmith shops, hotels, saloons and stores took up the town in the 1910s and 1920s. Schools went up as well. Early schools were shacks at best. A two-room school went up in 1910, but a larger school was quickly needed. Tahoma High School, a three-story brick building, went up in 1920. Students made up the name by combining the first two letters in the town names Taylor, Hobart and Maple Valley.[6] The school still serves the Tahoma School District as an elementary school.

Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant School Maple Valley WA

Maple Valley WA medical assistant studentIt’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Maple Valley WA.

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