How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Lithonia Georgia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lithonia GA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Lithonia GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for giving direct assistance 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:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Lithonia GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed 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 usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened also. But keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Lithonia GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Lithonia GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. 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 take the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Lithonia GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must explore when researching schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Lithonia 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 need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select 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 about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Lithonia GA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the Lithonia medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Landing that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lithonia GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s essential that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lithonia 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 clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lithonia Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lithonia GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
"Lithonia" means "city/town of stone". Lithonia is in the heart of the Georgian granite-quarrying and viewing region, hence the name of the town, from the Greek λίθος lithos, for stone. The huge nearby granite dome, Stone Mountain, is composed largely of a rock called Lithonia gneiss, a form of granite. The area has a history of rock quarries. The mines were served by the Georgia Railroad and Atlanta, Stone Mountain & Lithonia Railway. Some of the rock quarries have been converted to parkland and the rail lines to rail-trail.
Lithonia is located in southeastern DeKalb County at 33°42′46″N 84°6′21″W / 33.71278°N 84.10583°W / 33.71278; -84.10583 (33.712658, -84.105897).Interstate 20 passes just south of the community, with access from Exits 74 and 75. Lithonia is 18 miles (29 km) east of the center of Atlanta.
In 1805, Lithonia began as a small crossroads settlement of farmers. The town grew with the coming of the Atlanta Augusta Railroad in 1845, which allowed the granite quarrying industry in the area to flourish.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Lithonia GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, 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 Prerequisites. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lithonia GA.
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