How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Clarkston Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clarkston GA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Clarkston GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting 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 task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Clarkston GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one 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 earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Clarkston GA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good option for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Clarkston GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Clarkston GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to examine when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Clarkston GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the colleges you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Clarkston GA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Clarkston health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Clarkston GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clarkston GA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy 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 Clarkston Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Clarkston GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Clarkston is a city in DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The population was 12,742 as of 2016. The Clarkston Campus of Georgia State University's Perimeter College is just south of the city limits.
The city is noted for its ethnic diversity, and is often referred to as "the most diverse square mile in America" and "the Ellis Island of the South." In the 1990s, refugee resettlement programs identified Clarkston as a good fit for displaced persons of many backgrounds. The rental market was open, residents were moving farther out from the Atlanta urban core, and Clarkston was the last stop on a transit line into the city. By the 2000s the local high school had students from more than 50 countries; a local mosque had 800 worshipers; and by some estimates, half the population was from outside the U.S.
A post office called Clarkston has been in operation since 1876. The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the place in 1882 as the "Town of Clarkston", with municipal corporate limits extending in a one-half mile radius from the Georgia Railroad depot. The community was named after W. W. Clark, a railroad official.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Clarkston GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering 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, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate Program. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Clarkston GA.
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