How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Elberton Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Elberton GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Elberton GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Elberton GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Elberton GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Elberton GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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 be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Elberton GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should examine when researching programs. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the college you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Elberton GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, find out 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 school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Elberton GA area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Elberton medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Elberton GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also signifies that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program 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 college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Elberton GA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Elberton Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Elberton GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Settled in the 1780s, Elbert was designated seat of the newly formed Elbert County in 1790. It was incorporated as a town in 1803 and as a city in 1896. Like Elbert County, Elberton is named for Samuel Elbert.
Elberton is located near the center of Elbert County at 34°6′35″N 82°51′56″W / 34.10972°N 82.86556°W / 34.10972; -82.86556 (34.109628, -82.865669). State Routes 17 and 72 pass east-west through the center of town as College Avenue, while 77 crosses north-south on Oliver Street. GA 17 leads northwest 19 miles (31 km) to Royston and southeast 29 miles (47 km) to Washington, GA 72 leads east 15 miles (24 km) to the South Carolina border at Richard B. Russell Lake on the Savannah River and west 35 miles (56 km) to Athens, and GA 77 leads north 18 miles (29 km) to Hartwell and southwest 25 miles (40 km) to Lexington.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Elberton has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km2), of which 4.7 square miles (12.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.72%, is water.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Elberton GA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Associate Degree. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Elberton GA.
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