Nationwide there are literally hundreds of thousands medical assistants employed by clinics, general physicians, hospitals, and a myriad of other medical institutions. These employees play an active and vital role in healthcare systems that help keep medical offices up and running. Several facts need to be taken into consideration before pursuing a career as a medical assistant. One of the most important things to decide is which college to enroll into and this can be done by analyzing its medical assistant programs.
What to Look for First?
Before enrolling into a medical assistant program, narrow down your college choices and contact each to see if pre-admittance advising is available. If it is, this is a wonderful way to determine if medical assisting is a suitable career that will be challenging and rewarding. An advisor will ask questions and request self-evaluation in important personal and professional realms such as:
- Do you enjoy helping others and can you do so in a polite and professional manner?
- Are you focused enough to multitask without being easily distracted?
- Are you a good listener with excellent written and oral communication skills?
- Can you maintain patient confidentiality?
Once the interview is over, the advisor will provide an overview of a medical assistant’s daily responsibilities and can recommend if this position is an appropriate choice based on your conversations.
How Long Do Medical Assistant Programs Last?
The majority of medical assistant programs are available at vocational or technical colleges and the student will graduate with an associate’s degree, diploma, or certification. In-class time usually lasts anywhere from several months to two years, depending heavily upon area of concentration. Judging against other medical degrees, students can be prepared to enter the workforce as a medical assisting professional in a comparatively short amount of time.
Which Courses Should I Register For?
Medical assisting programs have predetermined course loads that lack the general education classes most 4 year colleges and universities require; this allows the teachings to focus on skills used in the workplace. Course content typically has little variation from school to school but can be confusing when comparing programs from separate colleges since similar subjects have different names and required prerequisites will vary.
Basic subject material includes:
- Cardiopulmonary Procedures
- Laboratory Processes
- Medical Administrative Skills
- Medical Bookkeeping
- Medical Insurance Practices
- Patient Care
It would be wise to discuss program content with school counselors to discover exactly which subjects are covered by the medical assistant program. Also, it’s important to note that most programs will include a classroom segment, a clinical segment, and an externship. Along with classroom learning, most programs use mock office settings furnished with real-life medical equipment to practice learned skills and minor medical tasks while receiving medical equipment training. Once the classroom and laboratory sections of a program are completed, the students typically participate in an externship within a medical facility. The externships are provided under direct supervision so that students may perform as fully qualified medical assistants; these mentors provide progress reports that factor into the students’ final grade.
In conclusion, the need for qualified medical assistants is projected to quickly increase within the next several years. Now is the time to choose a college with a suitable medical assistant program so that, upon graduation, you can have a job ready and waiting. Refer to the above suggestions and research the colleges in your area to determine which one will provide the perfect fit you desire.