How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Atmore Alabama
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Atmore AL, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their function is to make sure that the Atmore AL clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Alabama law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Training Programs
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Atmore AL health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available 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 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Atmore AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of getting your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve 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 idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Atmore AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide 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, some potential students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Atmore AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you need to explore when researching programs. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to make certain that the school you select 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 need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Atmore AL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes 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 closer to one year. Or you can choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Many medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Atmore AL area healthcare providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Atmore medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Atmore AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care 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 might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a program 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 school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Atmore AL, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Atmore Alabama?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Atmore AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Training Atmore AL
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before 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 addressed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Online. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Atmore AL.
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