Medical assistants are health care professionals responsible for a variety of duties. They may perform both administrative and clinical tasks, ranging from scheduling appointments to assisting the physician within the examining room. Before choosing a medical assistant school, the future student should make sure that the career school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
When employers search for medical assistants, they look for candidates who have graduated from a school accredited by one of these agencies. Attending a school accredited by the CAAHP or ABHES ensures the future medical assistant that he or she is receiving a quality education. This is because students of an accredited medical assistant school receive clinical experience under the supervision of experienced medical professionals.
A medical assistant school usually offers programs that last between one and two years. A one-year program leads to a career diploma. In contrast, a two-year program allows the student to earn an associate's degree in the medical assistant field. Courses at a medical assistant school will include classes that prepare students to fulfill both administrative and clinical duties.
Medical assistants must study anatomy and physiology, medical law, and medical terminology. They will also be trained in first aid and lab procedures. Many medical assistants are required to be adept at administrative tasks as well. Keyboarding, insurance filing, transcription, and accounting are just a few of the clerical tasks they must learn.
Some employers prefer that their medical assistants are certified. Medical assistants can earn national certification by taking an exam administered by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants. This particular certification can lead to a higher salary and career advancement in the medical assisting field.
Students who are interested in enrolling in a medical assistant school should first determine if they are ideal candidates for this type of career. A medical assistant interacts with patients on a daily basis, so he or she must work well with the public. The assistant must have the talent of setting people at ease and possess a calm demeanor. Medical assistants should also have the ability to work closely with other medical personnel since they usually work under the supervision of physicians and nurses.
Choosing the best medical assistant school involves researching the types of schools available in the area. Calling the Better Business Bureau to determine if the school is a reputable organization is another important way to choose the best career school. If the student enrolls in an accredited program, he or she has a better chance of receiving a quality education in the medical assisting field.