How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Cottondale Florida
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cottondale FL, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of future 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 extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Cottondale FL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Florida law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options 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 Programs
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Cottondale FL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Cottondale FL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Cottondale FL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate 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 provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Cottondale FL with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Cottondale FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Cottondale FL area medical care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Cottondale healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Cottondale FL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Cottondale FL, verify 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 any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Cottondale Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cottondale FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cottondale is located in western Jackson County at 30°47′49″N 85°22′34″W / 30.79694°N 85.37611°W / 30.79694; -85.37611 (30.796810, -85.376031).U.S. Route 90 passes through the south side of town on Levy Street. US-90 leads east 9 miles (14 km) to Marianna, the Jackson county seat, and west 10 miles (16 km) to Chipley. U.S. Route 231 runs through the center of Cottondale as Main Street, leading north 31 miles (50 km) to Dothan, Alabama, and south 51 miles (82 km) to Panama City, Florida. US-231 crosses Interstate 10 3 miles (5 km) south of Cottondale; I-10 leads east 72 miles (116 km) to Tallahassee and west 120 miles (190 km) to Pensacola.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.0 km2), of which 3.3 square miles (8.6 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 3.87%, are water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 869 people, 376 households, and 239 families residing in the town. The population density was 573.2 inhabitants per square mile (220.7/km²). There were 445 housing units at an average density of 293.5 per square mile (113.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 76.41% White, 18.64% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.58% from other races, and 3.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.14% of the population.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant College Cottondale FL
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program 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 need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Cottondale FL.
More Medical Locations in Florida