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Become a Medical Assistant Juneau AK 99801

How to Pick the Best CMA Program near Juneau Alaska

Juneau AK CMA holding medical chartOnce you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Juneau AK, it's time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting 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.

Why Train to Become a Medical Assistant?

When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant position near Juneau AK, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What made you decide on health care as a profession?" What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a CMA, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to medical assistance, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.

The Role of Medical Assistants

Juneau AK CMA measuring vital signs of patient

The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is ensure that the Juneau AK hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Weighing and taking patients vital signs
  • Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Alaska law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Programs

Juneau AK medical assistant opening door for patientCompared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Juneau AK 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 generally two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at Alaska community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some potential Juneau AK medical employers simply will not hire 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) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.

Online Medical Assistant Schools

Juneau Alaska student attending medical assistant online schoolThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for Alaska students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Juneau AK area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the best option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.

What 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 attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Juneau AK with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Juneau AK employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the Program's Passage Rate? Most of the Alaska accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, 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 assess the quality of a college's program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the Alaska colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Juneau AK area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Juneau medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Juneau AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.

How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it's essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Best Juneau AK Medical Assistant Training

It's essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Juneau AK.