If you are preparing for the “big day” where you sit for the medical assistant certification exam then here are some tips and words of encouragement:
Most medical assistants with formal training actually do quite well taking the certification exam directly upon their graduation from the program. There are a handful different certification exams offered, each covering a range of theoretical knowledge as it pertains to the field. They usually test general, clinical and administrative knowledge, which includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology (A&P), clinical theory, lab procedures, pharmacology, document processing, file management, law and ethics and medical coding and billing questions, to name just a few areas.
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Medical assistant training comes in many forms—from hands-on instruction on the job, to formal training in a school, or informal online medical assistant programs provided over the Internet.
There are many medical assistant schools; some are state funded and government regulated, such as community colleges, others are private vocational training institutions for profit. While the outcome is essentially the same (a medical assistant diploma or degree) attending a community college usually costs less.
Luckily, college is not the only answer to leaning a skilled trade such as medical assisting. Many community funded and private vocational training institutions offer secondary and post-secondary education programs. Typical educational requirements to be accepted into a medical assistant program are:
- at least 18 years of age
- high school diploma, or equivalent
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Doctors are serving people with special needs and a plethora of health concerns for which mastering health care and medical skills and overcoming communication barriers is essential. Most employers set their standards high and often hire only medical assistants with formal training and recognized medical assisting certifications. The correct title for a graduate of a formal medical assisting training program who is not yet certified is Medical Assistant (MA). The correct title for a medical assistant who has passed a certification exam is Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), etc. Their name and title must be displayed on the identification badge and used in signing official patient-care documents.
Medical assistants are found in an ambulatory medical practice setting where they apply their skills under the direct supervision of the doctor. Medical assistants at the front desk reception area handle specialized administrative procedures. They register new patients, help them fill out paperwork, explain available services, their cost, and copayments. They check the patient’s health insurance coverage and put together the patient’s medical chart. Duties range from clerical and managerial skills, patient registration, appointment scheduling, medical record filing, health insurance verification, referrals to specialists for further evaluation, special diagnostics, screening and therapeutic appointments.
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