How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Training School Near Juneau Alaska
Once you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Juneau AK, it's time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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Medical Assistant Training
Unlike many other medical 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 program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Juneau AK medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be reduced as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Juneau AK area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Juneau AK with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education 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 acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining 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 School's Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school's program. Naturally programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Juneau AK area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Juneau medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Juneau AK area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school 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 wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's important that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Juneau Medical Assistant Classes
It's imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided 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 ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Juneau Alaska.