Medical Assistant Definition Shelby AL

How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Shelby Alabama

Shelby AL medical assistant checking pulseOnce you have decided to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Shelby AL, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Medical Assistant

medical assistant with Shelby AL nursing home patientThe role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Shelby AL hospitals, clinics 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 facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Completing insurance forms and filing claims
  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Taking vital signs and weighing patients
  • Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
  • Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
  • Supplying general support during exams and procedures

Although medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Medical Assistant Courses

In contrast to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Shelby AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, 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 acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical 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 Colleges

woman attending medical assistant school online in Shelby ALThere are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Shelby AL area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.

Certification Options for Medical Assistants

As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Shelby AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received 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 exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.

What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Shelby AL medical assistant programsBefore you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Shelby AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Shelby AL employers will not employ 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 design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.

Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.

Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Shelby AL area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Shelby health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that first job can be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Shelby AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.

How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.

Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the college you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Shelby AL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Shelby Alabama?

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

Shelby County, Alabama

Shelby County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085.[1] The county seat is Columbiana.[2] The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816.

Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, and it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville. This settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs. The seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Initially housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854. It is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000.[3]

Shelby County was the home of an early inland waterway, the Coosa River, and it was also the location of a very early east-west railroad in Alabama that connected Atlanta, Georgia, with locations to its west. Shelby County was also crossed by an early north-south railroad, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, that connected Louisville, Nashville, Decatur, Birmingham, and Montgomery.

Select the Right Medical Assistant Program Shelby AL

Shelby AL medical assistant studentIt’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Shelby AL.

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