How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Fairhope Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fairhope AL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Most potential students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Fairhope AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Fairhope AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Fairhope AL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Fairhope AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Fairhope AL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Fairhope AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Fairhope AL area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Fairhope health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Offered? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Fairhope AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, confirm that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Fairhope Alabama?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fairhope AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Fairhope is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on a sloping plateau, along the cliffs and shoreline of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 15,326. Fairhope is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County. In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.
Fairhope was founded in November 1894 on the site of the former Alabama City as a radical Georgist "Single-Tax" colony by the Fairhope Industrial Association, a group of 28 followers of economist Henry George who had incorporated earlier that year in Des Moines, Iowa. Their corporate constitution explained their purpose in founding a new colony:
In forming their demonstration project, they pooled their funds to purchase land at "Stapleton's pasture" on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay and then divided it into a number of long-term leaseholds. The corporation paid all governmental taxes from rents paid by the lessees, thus simulating a single-tax. The purpose of the single-tax colony was to eliminate disincentives for productive use of land and thereby retain the value of land for the community.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Course Fairhope AL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Credentials. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Fairhope AL.
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