How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant School Program near Dahlonega Georgia
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dahlonega GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their duty is ensure that the Dahlonega GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers 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 responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Dahlonega GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational 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 often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent option for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Dahlonega GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Dahlonega GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected 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. Other certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Dahlonega GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Dahlonega GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? 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 colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school’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 school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Dahlonega GA area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Dahlonega healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that very first job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Dahlonega GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms 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 positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout 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 practical, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dahlonega GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dahlonega Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dahlonega GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
In 1828 Dahlonega was the site of the first major gold rush in the United States. The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site stands in the middle of the town square, housed in the 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse. From its steps in 1849, Dahlonega Mint assayor Dr. M. F. Stephenson tried to persuade miners to stay in Dahlonega instead of joining the California Gold Rush, saying, "There's millions in it," famously misquoted as "There's gold in them thar hills."
Dahlonega was home to many Creek and Cherokee. There are a few Creek and Cherokee descendants in Dahlonega today, not in distinct communities but scattered throughout the area. Most of the descendants are Cherokee of mixed race. Names such as Corn, Davis, Chambers, Dover, Chattin, and Bird are associated with these lines of Cherokee blood. Surnames like Thrasher are of Creek blood. Though not afforded state or federal recognition, these families still hold onto who they are as Cherokee and Creek people. The Cherokee called the area ᏓᎶᏂᎨ or Da-lo-ni-ge, which means yellow (from the Dikaneisdi (Word List) of the Cherokee Language); George Featherstonhough, an English geologist who visited the town in 1837, observed that the courthouse, designed by Ephriam Clayton, was built upon a broad expanse of hornblende slate "and that the soil of the public square was impregnated with small specks of gold." The courthouse building was paid for in part with gold bullion, using bricks likely made in Lumpkin County (although possibly transported from Augusta), with both its foundation stone and timber obtained locally.
Numerous gold mines were illegally developed in the area. Miners, entering illegally into the Cherokee Nation lands, came into conflict with the Cherokee, whose territory they had trespassed. The Cherokee lands were defined by the treaty between the Federal Government and the Cherokee Nation in the Treaty of Washington 1819. The miners raised political pressure against the Cherokee because they wanted to get the gold. The Federal Government forced the Native Americans west of the Mississippi River to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears during Indian Removal. Dahlonega was founded two years before the Treaty of New Echota 1835, which made its founding a violation of the Treaty of Washington of 1819.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant College Dahlonega GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Does A Medical Assistant Do. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan 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 so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Dahlonega GA.
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