How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Pembroke Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Pembroke GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Pembroke GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties 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
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Pembroke 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 choices available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be performed in Pembroke GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in attaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Pembroke GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you must determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing 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 Pembroke GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Pembroke GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Pembroke GA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students build relationships within the Pembroke medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Pembroke GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates 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 Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend 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 Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the program you select provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pembroke GA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Pembroke Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Pembroke GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Pembroke is a small city in Bryan County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,196 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Bryan County. Pembroke is located approximately 35 miles west of Savannah, GA, and approximately 20 miles south of Statesboro, GA.
Pembroke is located in northern Bryan County at 32°08′24″N 81°37′25″W / 32.139892°N 81.623553°W / 32.139892; -81.623553.U.S. Route 280 passes through the center of the city, leading east 10 miles (16 km) to Interstate 16 and 35 miles (56 km) to Savannah. Claxton is 16 miles (26 km) to the west.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Pembroke has a total area of 7.7 square miles (19.9 km2), of which 7.6 square miles (19.6 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Pembroke GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays 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 pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Top Medical Assistant Programs. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan 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 supplied so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Pembroke GA.
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