How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Trussville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Trussville AL, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is ensure that the Trussville AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn 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 Programs
Compared to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Trussville AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good option for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Trussville AL area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Trussville AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, 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 provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Trussville AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Trussville AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Trussville AL area health care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Trussville medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Trussville AL area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, 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 anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Trussville AL, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Trussville Alabama?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Trussville AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Trussville is a city in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in the State of Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2015 population was 21,023.
Trussville has been recognized as one of the most livable cities in the state and country. It was named one of the ten best towns in Alabama for young families, listed among the five best Birmingham suburbs, and included in Money magazine's list of 100 best places to live in America.
The first European settler to establish residence in the area was Warren Truss, who entered the area with his brothers and constructed a grist mill on the Cahaba River in 1821. Truss was a North Carolina man of English descent. Trussville remained an agricultural community until after the Civil War, when the Alabama-Chattanooga Railway was built through the city. By 1886 a blast furnace was built on what is now the site of the new Cahaba Elementary School. Trussville was listed as an incorporated community on the 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census rolls. At some point after 1900 until its reincorporation in 1947, it did not appear on census records.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Trussville AL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What’s A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Trussville AL.
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