How do I Choose the Best Medical Assistant Program?

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  • Written By: M. DePietro
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2018
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Medical assistants work in doctors offices, clinics, urgent care centers and other types of health care settings. They may have a wide range of duties including assisting a physician with exams and procedures. Medical assistants may also prepare the exam room, take medical histories, record a patient’s vital signs and perform clerical duties. Other responsibilities may vary depending on the type of facility the assistant works in.

There are several facts to consider when choosing a medical assistant program, such as the length of time it takes to complete the program. Some programs take a year, while others can be completed in a few months. Programs completed in less time may be more intense since information is condensed.

Programs to become a medical assistant can be found at private schools, adult education centers and colleges and may be full or part-time. The best medical assistant program will be one that fits your schedule. If you need to work during school, a part-time program may be best.

Consider selecting a medical assistant program which teaches both front and back office skills. Not all medical assistant program teach both. Front office skills are usually related to patient care. Skills taught may include, monitoring a patient’s vital signs, giving injections and removing sutures.

Back office skills taught may include doing scheduling, billing and various clerical duties. A medical assistant program which teaches both front and back office skills may make a medical assistant more marketable. You can also consider a program which teaches additional skills, such as drawing blood and performing EKGs.

It’s also important to determine the extent of hands on learning opportunities. Some programs may emphasis classroom work, such as medical terminology and anatomy. However, hands on experience, practicing typical responsibilities, such as taking a blood pressure and giving an injection should be part of a well rounded medical assistant program.

Depending on the job market in your area, a program which provides job placement assistance may be helpful. Some programs will provide information to students on how to write a resume and teach interview skills. Job leads and placement assistance might also be part of the program.

When choosing a program, cost is usually a factor. In addition to tuition expenses, costs include books, uniforms and equipment, such as a stethoscope. Be sure to understand what is included in the tuition and what will be considered added expenses. Class size is also a factor to consider. Depending on your learning style, it may be easier to learn in an environment with less students.



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