How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Savannah Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Savannah GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included several questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” 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 offered.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Savannah GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work run successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose 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) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Savannah GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed 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 normally two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized also. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can usually be completed in Savannah GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Savannah GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly 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, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you must decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Savannah 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 evaluating programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, many potential Savannah GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create 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 naturally you will want to choose 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. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Savannah GA area medical care providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Savannah healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Savannah GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a school to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the program you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Savannah GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also have to schedule any internships or practical training that will 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 Savannah Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Savannah GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Savannah (/səˈvænə/) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2017 estimated population of 146,444. The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third largest, had an estimated population of 387,543 in 2017.
Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings: the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA), the Georgia Historical Society (the oldest continually operating historical society in the South), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African-American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third oldest synagogue in America), and the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America).
Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966).[a] Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan). Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Savannah GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Is Medical Assistant Training. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Savannah GA.
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