How to Choose the Right CMA Training School near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Juneau AK, it's time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But prior to starting that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When getting ready to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Juneau AK, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Medical Assistant prospects is "What drove you to choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding healthcare provider and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Juneau AK clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties 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
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Alaska law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
In contrast to many other medical 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 school (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at Alaska community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Juneau AK medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for Alaska students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Juneau AK area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you would like 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 discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Juneau AK with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that process, 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 Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Juneau AK employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program's Passage Percentage? The majority of Alaska accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the Alaska schools you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Juneau AK area medical providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Juneau medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Juneau AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might 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 emergencies.
Choose the Best Juneau AK Medical Assistant Training
It's important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you're goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Juneau AK.