Medical Assistant Program Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant?
- CNA duties typically consist of assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, and incontinence care. Some CNAs receive additional specialized training from their employer, and can advance to Patient Care Tech in a hospital setting, or Certified Medication Aide in an assisted living facility.
- Certified Medical Assistants are cross-trained, allied health members. This means that they can be utilized in either a clinical or clerical capacity in ambulatory care settings, such as a physician’s office. Some clerical duties include checking patients in, obtaining insurance information, scheduling, and collecting co-pays. Clinical, or back office, duties included obtaining vital signs, performing lab tests, giving injections, and drawing blood.
What is the difference between a Certified Medication Aide and a Certified Medical Assistant?
- Certified Medication Aides are CNAs who have completed additional training and taken a certification exam in order to be able to dispense medications under a physician’s order. They are used in assisted living facilities to assist with daily medication distribution.
- Certified Medical Assistants can dispense medication as well, without undergoing additional training or certification. They can perform this task in addition to their other clinical duties, such as those listed above.
What jobs can I get as a Medical Assistant?
- Medical Assistants are highly versatile members of the healthcare team, which means they qualify for many different types of employment. Some titles include:
- Medical Assistant
- Clinical Assistant
- Lab Assistant
- Specimen Processor
- Patient Services Representative
- Office Coordinator
- Referrals Clerk
- Mobile Medical Screener (for insurance companies)
- Medical Scribe
- Imaging Associate (pre-testing screening)
- Orthopedic Technician
- Ophthalmic Assistant
- Medical Records Clerk
- And Many Others!
Where can I work as a CMA?
- Family Practice Clinics
- Specialty Clinics – OB/Gyn, Urology, Orthopedics, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Pediatrics, Oncology, etc.
- Urgent Care Centers
- Universities & Colleges – Student Health Centers
- Correctional Facilities
- Insurance Companies
- Outpatient Labs
- Some departments of the hospital, such as medical records, or the lab*
*MAs do not typically work on the patient care floors of the hospital
What are some of the topics covered in the course?
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Safety & Regulations
- Law & Ethics
- Front Office Procedures – Scheduling, Basic Billing & Coding, Managing Office Finances
- Communication Styles
- Clinical Procedures – Injections, EKGs, Phlebotomy, Point of Care Testing
- First Aid & Emergencies
- Workplace Readiness
If I don’t want to practice phlebotomy or injections, can I still take the class?
- No one likes being stuck by a needle, but the only way to become competent in a skill is to practice! Invasive procedure training and practice are mandatory. Failure to participate will result in dismissal from the course.
Why do we need to wear scrubs?
- Personal presentation is important in the healthcare field both to find employment and to maintain it. Students are to present themselves for class in the same manner as they would within the workplace. Wearing scrubs and closed-toed shoes to class on skills days will aid in preparing students for the workplace and is therefore mandatory. Scrubs may be any color of your choice, but must be clean, wrinkle-free, and fit appropriately. Long hair should be tied back, and artificial fingernails will not be permitted, as they harbor bacteria.
Why is there an attendance policy?
- Attendance is of huge importance due to the amount of information covered in each class period. This is a condensed course, and topics are covered at an accelerated pace. Regularly missing class will hinder your ability to be well prepared for the national certification exam. Furthermore, poor attendance is one of the biggest reasons employers site for firing employees. It is in your best interest to make good attendance a priority not just in your school life, but your work life as well.
What is the NHA and why is it important to be certified?
- The NHA is the National Healthcareer Association, a national certifying body for allied health professions. Obtaining your certification indicates to employers that you have met the standards of competency set forth by the NHA and proves that you are knowledgeable within your field.
How much does the certification exam cost? Where do I take the exam at?
- The National Healthcareers Association (NHA) certification exam fee is included in your tuition; you will not have to pay out of pocket for your first attempt. The exam will be scheduled for a date approximately 1 week after your class ends and will be administered here at LFCC. If you need to retake the exam, you must wait a minimum of 30 days, and the cost is $165.
Is there an externship with this program?
- An externship is an unpaid opportunity to gain experience by working within the industry. Externships are available; however, students must meet the criteria and have all documentation turned in by the deadline in order to qualify. The requirements for externship placement are specifically outlined in the student handbook.
Why does all of the documentation have to be turned in within the first few weeks, if the externship isn’t until the end of the program?
- It can be a lengthy process getting students placed at various sites, and the coordinator needs to be able to submit the requests, along with documentation, within an appropriate time frame for potential host sites to review.
Why is health insurance and medical liability insurance a requirement?
- This is a requirement required by externship sites to protect you in the event you would accidentally harm yourself, or a patient, during your clinical rotations. This is a legal requirement and is therefore non-negotiable.
Where will I complete my externship? Can I pick my own place?
- Placement is usually determined by the coordinator. If you have spoken with a facility that has agreed to host you as an extern, please obtain approval from the coordinator prior to completing your hours.
- Externship sites vary. Primary care offices, urgent care centers, and specialty care clinics all have different needs. Students may not have the opportunity to practice every skill at every site. Regardless of where you are placed, your externship experience will prove to be indispensable.