How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Winterville Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Winterville GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Most potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an option 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 assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Winterville GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare institutions 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 responsible for giving direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties 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 fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Unlike many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Winterville GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options offered 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 finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive 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 element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in Winterville GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Winterville GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can start the procedure of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students limit their searches to the colleges that are closest to Winterville GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must explore when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Winterville GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Winterville GA area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Winterville medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Winterville GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare 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 may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small 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 possible, try to monitor a few classes before selecting a school to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winterville GA, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Winterville Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Winterville GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Winterville is a city in Clarke County, Georgia, United States. Since 1991, Winterville has been the only municipality located wholly within Athens-Clarke County. The population was 1,122 at the 2010 census.
Winterville is located at 33°58′00″N 83°16′54″W / 33.966720°N 83.281669°W / 33.966720; -83.281669, a 6-mile (10 km)–drive from the University of Georgia. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (6.9 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,122 people, 485 households, and 318 families residing in the city. The population density was 431.5 people per square mile (162.6/km2). There were 529 housing units at an average density of 203.5 per square mile (76.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.35% White, 21.84% African American, 0.36% Asian, 0.27% Native American, 3.57% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 5.26% of the population.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Program Winterville GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right 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 decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Trade School. 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, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Winterville GA.
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