How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Medical Lake Washington
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Medical Lake WA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Most future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Medical Lake WA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size 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 health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some prefer to specialize in a particular 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Medical Lake 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 generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Schools
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 attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Medical Lake WA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Medical Lake WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Medical Lake WA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed 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 finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Medical Lake WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate 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 decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Medical Lake WA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Medical Lake medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Landing that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Medical Lake WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s important that the school you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Medical Lake WA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Medical Lake Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Medical Lake WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Medical Lake, Washington
The Spokane people, a Native American tribe which had long inhabited the area, believed the water and mud of the lake to possess curative properties. White settlers such as Andrew Lefevre and Stanley Hallett, moving to the area in the 1870s, continued the belief, marketing the lake salts for medicinal uses. The attention this garnered sparked the development of a salt and soap industry, followed by the arrival of commercial bath houses in the 1880s. With the construction of several resort hotels along the lake shore and the development of Eastern State Hospital in 1891, Medical Lake saw a period of economic growth, which continued until the 1920s with the decline of the lake's popularity. A period of stagnation was interrupted in the 1940s with the construction of nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, which brought a surge of population to the city. Medical Lake's economy continues to rely heavily upon the presence of Eastern State Hospital and Fairchild AFB, while the city also serves as a bedroom community for nearby Spokane. 
Medical Lake is located at 47°34′17″N 117°41′00″W / 47.571384°N 117.683333°W / 47.571384; -117.683333Coordinates: 47°34′17″N 117°41′00″W / 47.571384°N 117.683333°W / 47.571384; -117.683333 (47.571384, -117.683333).
The city lies to the east of the lake of the same name. There are many other lakes within a few miles of the city, including West Medical Lake, Silver Lake, Clear Lake, and numerous smaller lakes and ponds south of the city. Driving distance from downtown Spokane is 16 miles via Interstate 90 and Washington State Route 902, the latter of which runs through the city. Eastern State Hospital is situated across the lake to the west. Fairchild Air Force Base is located immediately north of the city.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Medical Lake WA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs Online. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Medical Lake WA.
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