How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Douglas Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Douglas GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location 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 option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Douglas GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions 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 practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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 Training
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Douglas GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Douglas GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Douglas GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must determine which type of credential you would like to attain, 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 beginning of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Douglas GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, below are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Douglas GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, 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 elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Douglas GA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Douglas healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Douglas GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during 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 convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a college to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Douglas GA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol 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 Douglas Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Douglas GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Douglas is a city in Coffee County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 11,589. Douglas is the county seat of Coffee County and the core city of the Douglas, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 50,731 as of the 2010 census.
Douglas was founded in 1855 as the seat of the newly formed Coffee County. It was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas from Illinois, a renowned stump speaker who was the challenger to Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860.
Douglas was chartered as a town in 1895 and as a city in 1897. In 1895, the railroad came to Douglas and the community began to boom. In 1909, the Georgia and Florida Railway located its offices in Douglas.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant College Douglas 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 objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Classes Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Douglas GA.
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