How to Choose a Medical Assistant School Program near Homer Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Homer GA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few 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 kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Basically their role is to make sure that the Homer GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate successfully. 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 physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options offered 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
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Homer GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a 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 option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Homer GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Homer GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of 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). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing 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 from home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Homer GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Homer GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain 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 decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Homer GA area medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Homer health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Finding that first job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Homer GA area and find out 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 indicates 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 personal attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homer GA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Homer Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Homer GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Homer is a town in Banks County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,141 at the 2010 census. The town of Homer has a mayor, Doug Cheek, and five councilpersons: Jerry Payne, Cliff Hill, David Dunson, Sandra Garrison and James Dumas. The town is the county seat of Banks County.
Homer is among the earliest to hold the world record for an Easter egg hunt - 80,000 eggs, listed in the 1985 Guinness Book of World Records. The event in the small town of 1,100 people is an Easter Sunday tradition that has lasted 47 years. The egg hunt each year draws about 5,000 egg hunters, children and adults. Even though it no longer holds the record, Homer has long touted its annual hunt as the world's largest.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.0 km2), of which 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.38%, is water.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Homer GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in What Can A Medical Assistant Do. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Homer GA.
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