How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Ellijay Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ellijay GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might decide to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the schools 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their job is ensure that the Ellijay 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 facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties 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
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Education
Unlike many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Ellijay 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 offered for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed 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 available at community and junior colleges in addition to technical 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 classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Ellijay GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Ellijay 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 arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ellijay GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the college you choose 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 need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Ellijay GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Ellijay GA area medical care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Ellijay medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that first job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Ellijay GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Ellijay GA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ellijay Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ellijay GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Gilmer County was cut from Cherokee County in 1832, and Ellijay became the county seat in 1834. Ellijay existed as a remote mountain community until the Marietta and Northern Georgia Railroad (later the L & N) arrived in 1884. This prompted something of a boom in the timber industry, but the area remained relatively isolated until the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway (Georgia 515, named for Georgia governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller) was completed in 1991.
Ellijay is located at the center of Gilmer County, at 34°41'41" north, 84°29'1" west (34.694656, -84.483566). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km2), all land. It is situated at the confluence of the Ellijay and Cartecay rivers, forming the Coosawattee River, part of the Oostanaula/Coosa/Alabama River watershed. It is bordered to the east and south by the city of East Ellijay.
U.S. Route 76 bypasses the city center to the south and east. It leads west 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth and northeast 16 miles (26 km) to Blue Ridge. Georgia State Route 52 (Chatsworth Highway) also leads 24 miles (39 km) to Chatsworth, taking a more northerly route over Cohutta Mountain. Georgia State Route 515, the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway, leads northeast with US 76 to Blue Ridge and south 20 miles (32 km) to Jasper. Downtown Atlanta is 77 miles (124 km) to the south.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant School Ellijay GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Ellijay GA.
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