How to Pick a Medical Assistant School near Washington Georgia
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Washington GA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Washington GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can 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 medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options available 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 Programs
Compared to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Washington GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options offered 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 one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent option for students who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full-time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be carried out in Washington GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the right option for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Washington GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating 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.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
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 at home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Washington GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Washington GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, 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 assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Washington GA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Washington healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Landing that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Washington 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 medical community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of 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 important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Washington GA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Washington Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Washington GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Washington is the county seat of Wilkes County, Georgia, United States. Under its original name Heard's Fort, it was briefly the state capital, and is noted as the place where the Confederacy voted to dissolve itself, effectively ending the American Civil War. The population was 4,295 at the 2000 census. The city is often referred to as Washington-Wilkes, to distinguish it from other places named Washington.
The Battle of Kettle Creek, one of the most important battles of the American Revolutionary War to be fought in Georgia, was fought on February 14, 1779, in Wilkes County, about eight miles (13 km) from present day Washington. The battle resulted in a victory for the American Patriots who took 75 prisoners, and killed roughly 70 Loyalists, while losing 32 men.
Although no major battles of the Civil War were fought in or near Washington, the city has the distinction of being the location where Jefferson Davis held the last meeting with the Confederate cabinet. On April 3, 1865, with Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant poised to capture Richmond, Jefferson Davis escaped for Danville, Virginia, together with the Confederate cabinet. After leaving Danville, and continuing south, Davis met with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time on May 5, 1865 in Washington, along with a hand-picked escort led by Given Campbell, including his personal Body Guard Sgt. Joseph A Higgenbotham, Jr., of Amherst/Nelson County, Virginia. The meeting took place at the Heard house (the Georgia Branch Bank Building), with fourteen officials present.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Washington GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example 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 Medical Assistant Credentials. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the right program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Washington GA.
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