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Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Alaska health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Alaska medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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 apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced also. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Alaska healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.