How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Clayton Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Clayton GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all 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 a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Clayton GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based 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 tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific 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 Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Clayton GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Clayton GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Clayton GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Clayton GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Clayton GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially 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, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Clayton GA area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Clayton healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Clayton GA area and ask 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 jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Clayton GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Clayton Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Clayton GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The area that would eventually become Clayton was called the Dividings because it sat at the intersection of three important Cherokee people trails. Explorer and naturalist William Bartram came through the Dividings in May 1775 while exploring what would later be organized as Rabun County. Much later, after Clayton had grown to include the Dividings, two of the old Cherokee trails were improved as the main roads for Clayton and the county: U.S. 23/441 and U.S. 76.
Claytonsville was founded by European-American settlers in 1821 as the seat of Rabun County. In 1823, the town was incorporated and renamed Clayton. It was named after a prominent jurist and congressman, Judge Augustin S. Clayton, who served in both the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate before being elected as a US Representative from Georgia, serving two terms from 1831–1835.
In 1904, the Tallulah Falls Railway was completed to Clayton from Cornelia, Georgia; it was extended to Franklin, North Carolina by 1907. Clayton has had public water and sanitary sewer service since the 1920s. Initially, the water supply was two springs on nearby Buzzard Roost Mountain, but today Clayton uses Lake Rabun as its water supply.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Clayton GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide 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 right info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Quick Medical Assistant Programs. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure 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 ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Clayton GA.
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