How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Program near Rock Spring Georgia
Once you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Rock Spring GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You may choose to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program 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 included a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is ensure that the Rock Spring GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Courses
In contrast to most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Rock Spring GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed 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 typically 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges together with 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 training. They often have a clinical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Rock Spring GA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Rock Spring GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Rock Spring GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when evaluating programs. To help 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 Program Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Rock Spring GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to determine 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 of course you will want to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Rock Spring GA area medical care providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Rock Spring health care community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting that first job can be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Rock Spring GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher 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 large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a school to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Rock Spring GA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Rock Spring Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Rock Spring GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Rock Spring, Georgia
Rock Spring is a small unincorporated census county division located in northwest Georgia, United States, approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is in Walker County which resides in Georgia's 9th congressional district. Rock Spring is included in the Chattanooga, TN-GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The nearest major city is Chattanooga, and the nearest incorporated cities are Chickamauga and La Fayette, a few minutes away. From Rock Spring it takes roughly twenty minutes to drive to the Chattanooga city limits, and about thirty-five minutes for downtown Chattanooga. Nissin Brake Georgia , a major casting, machining and assembly facility established in 2002, is the largest employer in Rock Spring. There is also a Georgia Department of Driver Services branch in the community. Rock Spring Elementary School, Saddle Ridge Elementary, and Saddle Ridge Middle School serves the community as part of the Walker County School District. Walker County, has relocated its tag and tax office, to a former bank building, at the intersection of, US 27 and Hwy 95.
Northwest Georgia has a significant history tied to the Civil War. The Battle of Chickamauga was fought in the Chickamauga area, and was one of the major battles of the war. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park spans over 9000 acres and is located in nearby Chickamauga.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant School Rock Spring GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Online. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Rock Spring GA.
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