Going back to school doesn’t have to be a nightmare, especially when vocational schools offer learning options for students that have responsibilities during the day. If you’re interested in medical assisting, you can enroll in lifestyle-friendly evening classes and secure a better future.
Do Vocational Schools Offer Evening Classes?
The good news for students that either care for a family member or work during the day is that vocational schools offer evening classes. It takes fifteen months to complete training, twice the length of a day program, but the slower pace has surprising benefits.
There are many benefits to evening classes. Parents and full-time workers can tend to their responsibilities during the day. For those night owls, taking evening classes can help you obtain your dream career without needing to choose between existing priorities.
Benefit #1: Students Can Earn and Learn
Adults have responsibilities. Most spend their days working to pay for food and bills. Giving up their jobs to go back to school would be a financial nightmare, which can put higher education out of reach.
While some programs can be completed exclusively online, medical assisting requires hands-on training in the lab, so off-campus options are limited. But with evening programs, students can keep their day jobs and earn full-time money while attending courses on their off-hours. It’s hard work, but it’s the best of both worlds.
Benefit #2: It’s a Relief for Night Owls
There is significant controversy about when the best time of day is to learn. Traditionally, school hours start as early as seven, a struggle for students whose internal clocks are geared for a later time. Some people’s brains aren’t in lockstep, we all have a unique circadian rhythm that determines when we’re most wakeful. For the night owls that spent high school sleeping in the back of the class, evening classes are a relief.
Benefit #3: A Slower Pace
Day programs are designed for students who have the maximum number of hours to devote to their education. By starting early and ending late, it’s possible to complete a medical assisting program in just 7 1/2 months, but that pace isn’t for everyone. A longer fifteen-month program of evening classes is a better fit for many people’s schedules, allowing a little breathing room.
What Do You Learn During a Medical Assisting Program?
Medical assisting programs are geared toward entry-level positions. You don’t need a background in healthcare, just enthusiasm and the willingness to learn. Here are some of the exciting things you’ll learn about in evening classes:
Medical Administrative and Business Practices
In this introductory course, you get an overview of the healthcare system and your role in it, from the management of medical records to billing and insurance claims. You’ll get an overview of how patient accounts are managed, touching on the revenue cycle and how it differs from other businesses.
Keyboarding with Microsoft
Even if you’ve never used a computer before, you’ll get up to speed quickly by learning how to use the QWERTY keyboard and number pad. As a medical assistant, you need accurate data entry skills to take health histories, transcribe medication lists, and enter doctor’s orders. As you practice, you’ll gain speed and confidence with Microsoft Word, the world’s premier word processing software, and those skills will transfer to virtually any practice management software.
Doctors have a language of their own. To fit in, you’ll have to understand the most common medical and scientific jargon. Medical terminology classes don’t force you to memorize words. Instead, you’ll learn how to decipher them by breaking them down into their parts, prefixes, suffixes, and root words. We can’t promise you’ll never need a dictionary again, but by graduation, you will feel comfortable searching charts for information and working with medical professionals.
Anatomy and Physiology
Anatomy and Physiology classes cover how the body is made and how it functions. You’ll learn about the fourteen body systems, what’s normal, and what is not. This course expands on the medical terminology class, helping you make connections between healthcare jargon and what it means.
Communication and Human Relations
Healthcare is a service industry, so communication skills are critical. In this class, you’ll learn how to better interact with peers, professionals, and patients. Topics include telephone demeanor, medical ethics, and legal considerations, such as client privacy.
Pharmacology is the study of drugs and how they work. You’ll learn about the medicine doctors use most to treat patients, their therapeutic effects, and risks. Pharmaceutical measurements and calculations are also introduced.
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms and how they cause illness. As a medical assistant, you’ll handle biological samples like urine, preparing them for microscopic examination. You need to know how to do it safely and within established OSHA guidelines.
Asepsis in Surgery
Medical assistants assist during minor surgeries by passing instruments and taking care of details, so doctors can focus on the procedure. Understanding asepsis, how incisions and instruments are kept sterile during surgery, is a must. You’ll learn more about your role from how to set up instrument trays to preparing the patient and assisting them through recovery. Also covered is the use of sterilization equipment, including autoclaves.
Medical assistants manage a wide range of clinical tasks that require education and skill, the most important of which are helping with physical exams and taking vital signs. You’ll learn how to take a patient’s temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and more using the latest equipment, plus how to assist physicians with general and specialty exams from pediatrics to geriatrics, to name a few.
Medical assistants can now do diagnostic tests that once required a trip to the hospital. In this course, you’ll learn about the cardiovascular system and one of the most important diagnostic tests you’ll do, the electrocardiogram (EKG).
Also covered are associated tests medical assistants may be asked to prepare patients for or assist with. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to perform an EKG and tell if it’s normal or abnormal at the basic level.
Phlebotomy and Laboratory Procedures
Phlebotomy is the art of drawing blood through a needle. It’s a valuable skill all medical assistants need. You’ll review why blood is drawn and how tests give physicians important information about a patient’s health. You will study coagulation, serology, chemistry, blood typing and more, learning how to process samples and run select diagnostics.
The course also includes a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class and teaches you how to use an automated external defibrillator. You’ll be prepared for medical emergencies in the office on day one.
Computerized Billing and Electronic Medical Records
Today’s medical records are all-inclusive. When you check a patient in, you initiate a workflow for that encounter. Whether staff is doing administrative or clinical tasks, it’s tracked using the same computerized system.
You will learn the importance of entering accurate data to generate insurance claims and other customer billing. Maintaining patient accounts, posting payments, monitoring inventory, and managing practice finances are key parts of the course.
Externships are short, real-world experiences that familiarize you with the work environment in medical offices. Schools partner with practices willing to let students shadow seasoned peers. Most externships take place near the end of the program and last from a few days to a several weeks.
You’ll have the opportunity to practice hands-on skills under strict supervision, observing how members of the healthcare team interact with patients and each other. During that time, you’ll gain confidence in your skills and make professional connections that can last a lifetime. More than one medical assistant has gotten a job offer after an impressive externship.
Career Development and Certification Review
Vocational schools excel at helping students find jobs. This course helps you take the next steps toward a rewarding career. You’ll learn about the certification process. While it’s not necessary to be certified to work as a medical assistant, it’s the next logical step in your professional development, and many employers look for it.
Vocational programs prepare you to take certification exams after you graduate. Also covered are the essentials of job hunting, including how to fill out an employment application and land an interview. In a competitive market, a helping hand goes a long way.
While other jobs are disappearing, replaced by technology, medical assisting is an in-demand career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19-percent increase in job growth through 2030. If you’ve always wanted to work in healthcare but thought you couldn’t go back to school because you have commitments during the day, consider taking evening classes in medical assisting. It could be the future you’ve been waiting for.
Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice. The Medical Assistant program provides hands-on experience in a real medical setting where you can foster professional relationships with actual patients. Medical Assistant students spend 160 hours in an externship in an actual medical environment where they are supervised and taught in order to gain valuable on-the-job training.