How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Dawson Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dawson GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might decide to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their job is ensure that the Dawson GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Dawson GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent choice for students who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Dawson GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Dawson GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Dawson GA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to make sure that the program 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. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to 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 school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Dawson GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn 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 want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Dawson GA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent method to get hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Dawson health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that initial job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Dawson GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication 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 provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dawson GA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dawson Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dawson GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dawson is a city in and the county seat of Terrell County, Georgia, United States. The population was 4,557 at the 2010 census. Incorporated on December 22, 1857, the city is named for Senator William Crosby Dawson.
Dawson was founded in 1856 as seat of the newly formed Terrell County. It was incorporated as a town in 1857 and as a city in 1872. Terrell was an important site in the 1960s, when the county in which it is located was labeled "Terrible Terrell" by the SNCC. Jackie Robinson helped raise money to rebuild three black churches that were burned in the area.
Dawson is located in Southwest Georgia along U.S. Route 82 and Georgia State Route 520 (Columbus Highway), which leads southeast 8 mi (13 km) to Sasser and northwest 9 mi (14 km) to Parrott. U.S. 82 leads west 21 mi (34 km) to Cuthbert and 47 mi (76 km) to Eufaula, Alabama. Albany is 24 mi (39 km) southeast and Columbus is 63 mi (101 km) northwest.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Course Dawson GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, 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 Medical Assistant Classes. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Dawson GA.
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