How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Purvis Mississippi
Now that you have decided to enter the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Purvis MS, 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 ultimately pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors as well. You might choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their function is to make sure that the Purvis MS clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical 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 in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Mississippi law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Purvis MS health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. 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 related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Purvis MS area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Purvis MS medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. 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). To qualify to take the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Purvis MS with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several good reasons to make certain that the school 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 plan on becoming certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Purvis MS employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must find out which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Purvis MS area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Purvis health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Purvis MS area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Purvis MS, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Purvis Mississippi?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Purvis MS area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Purvis is a city in Lamar County, Mississippi. It is part of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,164 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lamar County. The Town of Purvis was incorporated on February 25, 1888  and was founded by and named after Thomas Melville Purves, originally of Marion County, Alabama. Purves, born March 8, 1820, was a second generation Scottish-American; his grandfather emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1765.
Purvis acquired a land grant in 1870 for a parcel of real estate which was located, at that time, in Marion County, Mississippi. In 1871, Purves moved from his home in Greene County and homesteaded the 160 acres (0.65 km2), along with his wife, Dorothy Abney, born May 14, 1826 in Hinds County, and their five surviving children, to the rural property. Dorothy, also known as Dollie or Dolly, was a doctor who tended the sick of the area and delivered babies. Purves built a two-room log cabin for his family with an open fireplace in one room used for cooking and heating. John, Thomas Purves' third surviving child, was the town's first Mayor.
In 1884, the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad gained right-of-way on Purves' property and a depot was erected, along with a marker, reading "Purvis". There were various recognized spellings of Scottish Clan Purves (surname) with both names previously listed being only a few of many. Purves eventually changed the spelling of his surname to match the town's depot marker which you can see evidenced on his tombstone located in Fillingame Cemetery in Purvis. Purves built and ran the first boarding house for the men who were working on laying rails for the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. This building was called a "section house" because that is what a house built for railroad crew was termed at that time. Mrs. Anna Bufkin was a member of one of the first families to live in the section house as her husband was one that helped grade and build that part of the railroad in Purvis. There were around fifty men in the crew working in that area and the water supply was inadequate for that many additional people. They found a second source of water from a spring across the railroad track that was originally used by Thomas Purves (Grandpa Purvis) years before the town sprang into existence.
Enroll in the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Purvis MS
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Curriculum. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Purvis MS.
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