How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Hazlehurst Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hazlehurst GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want 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 complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Hazlehurst GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified 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) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Hazlehurst GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized also. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Hazlehurst GA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Hazlehurst GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate 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.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Hazlehurst GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should examine when researching schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Hazlehurst GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Hazlehurst GA area health care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students build relationships within the Hazlehurst health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task 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 Hazlehurst GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college 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 employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hazlehurst GA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hazlehurst Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hazlehurst GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
At the census of 2000, there were 3,787 people, 1,513 households, and 1,039 families residing in the city. There were 1,810 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 68.55% White, 27.67% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 1.66% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.43% of the population.
There were 1,513 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them; 44.7% were married couples living together; 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present; and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city, the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Hazlehurst GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Requirements. But regardless of the type 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 evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Hazlehurst GA.
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