How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Pelham Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pelham GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? Many potential students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have included several 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Pelham GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size 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 nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Pelham GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some 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 offered at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Pelham GA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Pelham GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Pelham GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many prospective Pelham GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools 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 enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Pelham GA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Pelham health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Pelham GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pelham GA, make sure that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pelham Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pelham GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pelham is a city in Mitchell County, Georgia, United States. The population was 3,898 at the 2010 census. Pelham is at the crossroads of US 19 and State Route 93 and is approximately 38 miles (61 km) south of Albany and about 26 miles (42 km) north of Thomasville.
Pelham has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by humid summers and mild winters. It receives 52 inches of rain per year. The average number of days with any measurable precipitation is 90. Pelham has on average 233 sunny days per year. The July high is around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The January low is 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,126 people, 1,467 households and 999 families in the city. The population density was 1,019.2 people per square mile (393.3/km²). There were 1,591 housing units at an average density of 393.0 per square mile (151.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.13% African American, 41.66% White, 0.24% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.43% of the population.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Program Pelham GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right 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 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 on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Where Can I Get My Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Pelham GA.
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