How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Folkston Georgia
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Folkston GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Folkston GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn 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 Training
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Folkston GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about one year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Folkston GA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many potential Folkston GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly 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 exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty 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 provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose 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 evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Folkston GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must examine when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you choose is accredited. To begin 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 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many potential Folkston GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, verify that the colleges you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Folkston GA area health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Folkston healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Folkston GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller 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 witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate 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 need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Folkston 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 still have to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Folkston Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Folkston GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Folkston is a city in and the county seat of Charlton County, Georgia, United States. Folkston is in the Jacksonville Metropolitan Area. The population was 4,148 as of the 2010 census, up from 2,178 in 2000, largely due to the extension of the city boundary to include D. Ray James Prison.
Folkston was founded on August 19, 1911. The city was named in honor of William Brandon Folks, M.D., a prominent physician and surgeon in his day. In the years 1925 - 1927, many new and commodious residences were built and several modern brick buildings were erected, including the Citizen Bank Block, the Masonic Temple building, a grammar-school building, and a courthouse. Shortly after its creation, the village of Folkston was incorporated as a town government and functioned as a town until 1911 when the area was incorporated as a city. For a number of years, Folkston was the self-proclaimed "Marriage Capital of the World;" Floridians who could not endure their state's waiting period before tying the knot would cross the state line to wed.
Folkston is located near the southern boundary of Georgia at 30°50′4″N 82°0′17″W / 30.83444°N 82.00472°W / 30.83444; -82.00472 (30.834437, -82.004829). U.S. Routes 1, 23, and 301 pass through the city as Second Street, leading south 42 miles (68 km) to Jacksonville, Florida. Route 1 and 23 lead northwest 35 miles (56 km) to Waycross, while Route 301 leads north 55 miles (89 km) to Jesup. The eastern entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Folkston via GA 23 and GA 121.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Folkston GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate 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 lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as 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 Responsibilities. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure 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 begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Folkston GA.
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