How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Donalsonville Georgia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Donalsonville GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Most prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Donalsonville GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may 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 Education
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Donalsonville GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 choice for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Donalsonville GA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the best choice for you. Between the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Donalsonville GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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 take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Donalsonville GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to confirm that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Donalsonville GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Donalsonville GA area health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students build relationships within the Donalsonville health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that initial job may be a daunting undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Donalsonville GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Donalsonville GA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Donalsonville Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Donalsonville GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Donalsonville was originally part of Decatur County. It is named after John Ernest Donalson (1846–1920), also known as Jonathan or John E. Donalson, a prominent businessman of the area. Donalson built the first lumber mill in Donalsonville, Donalson Lumber Company. He also built homes and a commissary for the workers of the mill. The lumber company paved the way for the town's growth.
Donalsonville was first chartered as a town in Georgia on December 8, 1897. When Seminole County was formed in January 1920, Donalsonville was named as its county seat. By August 1922, the Town of Donalsonville became known as the City of Donalsonville, with the charter passing on August 19, 1922.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10 km2), of which 4.0 square miles (10 km2) is land and 0.25% is water. The city is located 20 minutes north of Lake Seminole, 62 miles (100 km) south of Albany, 36 miles (58 km) east of Dothan, Alabama and 107 miles (172 km) west of Valdosta.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Donalsonville GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Assistant. But regardless 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 supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Donalsonville GA.
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