How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Richmond Hill Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Richmond Hill GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues as well. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should 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 type of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Richmond Hill GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Richmond Hill GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, some 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 alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue to work full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be reduced as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Richmond Hill GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the ideal option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Many possible Richmond Hill GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Richmond Hill GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you should look at when assessing schools. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Richmond Hill GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can choose to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Richmond Hill GA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Richmond Hill healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Richmond Hill GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? 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 convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a college 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 school while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Richmond Hill GA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may 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 Richmond Hill Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Richmond Hill GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Richmond Hill is a city in Bryan County, Georgia, United States. The population was 9,281 at the 2010 census, up from 6,959 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Richmond Hill is located along the eastern border of Bryan County at 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361 (31.938151, -81.313750). The Ogeechee River forms the eastern edge of the city (and the county line); an outlying portion of the city of Savannah is on the opposite side of the river.
U.S. Route 17 (Ocean Highway) passes through the city north of the original downtown. Interstate 95 passes through the western edge of the city, with access from Exit 87 (US 17) and Exit 90 (Georgia State Route 144/Ford Avenue). Downtown Savannah is 21 miles (34 km) to the north, and Brunswick is 58 miles (93 km) to the south.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Richmond Hill GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. 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 particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Richmond Hill GA.
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