How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Cedartown Georgia
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Cedartown GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” 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 Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Cedartown GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options available 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
In contrast to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Cedartown GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 usually two year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare 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 many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Cedartown GA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the right option for you. With the online classes 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 mandate, but is an excellent idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Cedartown GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those choices have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Cedartown GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Cedartown GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin 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 example, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, 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 assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Cedartown GA area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Cedartown health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Cedartown GA 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 a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a school to see 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 working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Cedartown GA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Cedartown Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Cedartown GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Cedartown is a city in Polk County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 9,750. The city is the county seat of Polk County. Cedartown is the principal city of and is included in the Cedartown, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area.
The Cedartown Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Cedartown Waterworks-Woman's Building-Big Spring Park Historic District is also listed along with the Northwest Cedartown Historic District and South Philpot Street Historic District.
Cherokee and Creek Native Americans first inhabited the area known as Cedar Valley. The Cherokee people had established a village there in the 1830s after the Native Americans were forced out on the Trail of Tears. The settlement was named for the red cedar timber near the site.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Cedartown GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning 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 get the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of 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, confirm that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Tech. 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, don’t forget 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 Cedartown GA.
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