How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Mercer Island Washington
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Mercer Island WA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Most prospective 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 very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You may want to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Mercer Island WA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Washington law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Mercer Island WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be performed in Mercer Island WA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Mercer Island WA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably 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 have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Mercer Island WA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Mercer Island WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Mercer Island WA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Mercer Island healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Getting that first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Mercer Island WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mercer Island WA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Mercer Island Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Mercer Island WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Mercer Island, Washington
Mercer Island is a city in King County, Washington, United States, located on an island of the same name in the southern portion of Lake Washington. Mercer Island is in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, with Seattle located to its west and Bellevue located to its east.
Mercer Island is connected to the mainland on both sides by bridges carrying Interstate 90. The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and the parallel Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge are floating bridges that span Lake Washington and carry, respectively, eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 90 and connect Mercer Island to the northern portion of Seattle's South End (more specifically, I-90 has Leschi to the north and Mount Baker to the south). I-90 traverses the northern portion of Mercer Island and is then carried from the island to Bellevue over the East Channel of Lake Washington by the East Channel Bridge. Mercer Island is located closer to Bellevue than it is to Seattle, and is therefore often considered to be part of the King County's Eastside.
The population was 25,261 in a 2017 census estimate. Mercer Island is the most populated island in a lake within the United States.[better source needed] The ZIP code 98040 is unique to Mercer Island. Mercer Island has the fifth highest per-capita income in the state of Washington and is one of the 100 richest ZIP codes in the USA according to the IRS figures for Adjusted Gross Income.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Mercer Island WA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Qualifications. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Mercer Island WA.
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