Medical Assistant Certification Oxford AL

How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Oxford Alabama

Oxford AL medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Oxford AL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by checking out 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 important issues also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Oxford AL nursing home patientThe function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Oxford AL hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:

  • Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
  • Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
  • Supplying general support during examinations and procedures

Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Courses

In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Oxford AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.

Medical Assistant Online Schools

woman attending medical assistant school online in Oxford ALThere are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Oxford AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Oxford AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Oxford AL medical assistant programsBefore you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Oxford AL with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to look at when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.

Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Oxford AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.

What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs 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 choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.

Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Oxford AL area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Oxford health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Oxford AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.

How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.

Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Oxford Alabama?

If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Oxford AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.

Oxford, Alabama

Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census,[3] an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852.[4] The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.[5]

A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War.[6] The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).[7]

Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Oxford AL

Oxford AL medical assistant studentIt’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Oxford AL.

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