How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Smyrna Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Smyrna GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You may want to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is to make sure that the Smyrna GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Smyrna 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 generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about one year to complete, some as little as six to nine 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 usually 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with trade 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 classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly 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 Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue to work full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Smyrna GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training may be the ideal 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 previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in attaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Smyrna GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. Once those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Smyrna GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you select is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective Smyrna GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Smyrna GA area medical providers. They are a great way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Smyrna medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Smyrna GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, 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 Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Smyrna GA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Smyrna Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Smyrna GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Smyrna is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States. It is located northwest of Atlanta, and is in the inner ring of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 51,271. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in 2013 to be 53,438. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs–Roswell MSA, which is included in the Atlanta–Athens–Clarke–Sandy Springs CSA. Smyrna grew by 28% between the years 2000 and 2012. It is historically one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Georgia, and one of the most densely populated cities in the metro area.
Pioneers began settling the area in 1832. By the late 1830s, a religious encampment called Smyrna Camp Ground had become a popular travel destination and was well known throughout Georgia. It was named by Greeks for the Biblical city of Smyrna, modern day Izmir in Turkey, the home of the famous Christian martyr Polycarp. After the completion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1842, the area began to grow. It was known by several names until 1872—Varner's Station, Ruff's Siding, Neal Dow, and Ruff's Station. The city was incorporated with the name Smyrna in 1872.
Two Civil War battles occurred in the area, the Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground and the Battle of Ruff's Mill, both on July 4, 1864. The area's businesses, homes and 1849 covered bridge (since rebuilt and still in use today) were burned by Sherman's troops.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant School Smyrna GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But regardless of the kind 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 so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Smyrna GA.
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