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How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training Near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska medical assistant carrying patient chartNow that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Juneau AK, it's time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the type of credentials and training that are available.

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Medical Assistant Courses

Juneau Alaska CMA working with senior man in skilled nursing facilityCompared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Juneau AK health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 Options for Medical Assistants

As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Juneau AK medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.

Medical Assistant Online Colleges

Juneau Alaska young female attending online medical assistant classesThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Juneau AK area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.

Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges

Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Juneau AK with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Juneau AK employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School's Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Juneau AK area health care providers. They are a great means to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Juneau health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Juneau AK area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.

How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Smaller 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 possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it's imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Train to Be a Medical Assistant in Juneau

Enroll in the Right Juneau Medical Assistant Training

It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you're goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the kind 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 provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Juneau Alaska.




 

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