How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Anniston Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Anniston AL, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that process, we have included several questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their duty is ensure that the Anniston AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are authorized to under Alabama law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Education
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Anniston AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Anniston AL area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Anniston AL medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated 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 previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you need to determine which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Anniston AL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons to make sure that the program you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 one of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Anniston AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to select a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously schools with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Anniston AL area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Anniston medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Getting that very first job can be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Anniston AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Anniston Alabama?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Anniston AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Program Anniston AL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Medical Assistant. 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 best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Anniston AL.
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