How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Gray Georgia
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Gray GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You might choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided several questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Gray GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. Depending 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 assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Gray GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often 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 Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Gray GA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, 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 might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Gray GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Gray GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must 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 either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Gray GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Gray GA area healthcare providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Gray health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Gray GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high 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 wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gray GA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Gray Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Gray GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Gray is located in central Jones County at 33°00′31″N 83°32′03″W / 33.0086°N 83.5342°W / 33.0086; -83.5342.U.S. Route 129 passes through the center of town, leading northeast 25 miles (40 km) to Eatonton and southwest 14 miles (23 km) to Macon. Monticello is 25 miles (40 km) to the northwest via State Route 11, Milledgeville is 19 miles (31 km) to the east via State Route 22, and Gordon is 15 miles (24 km) to the southeast via State Route 18.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Gray has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10.1 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.34%, are water. Gray is drained to the west by tributaries of Walnut Creek, flowing to the Ocmulgee River, and to the east by tributaries of Commissioner Creek, flowing to the Oconee River.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,276 people, 1,171 households, and 827 families residing in the city. There were 1,288 housing units, of which 117, or 9.1%, were vacant. The racial makeup of the city was 69.4% white, 28.1% African American, 0.1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% some other race, and 1.4% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Gray GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Colleges. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Gray GA.
More Medical Locations in Georgia