How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training Program near Saraland Alabama
Now that you have decided to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Saraland AL, it’s time to select a college that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? A number of potential students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might want to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included several 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 role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Saraland AL clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are authorized to under Alabama law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Saraland AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for students who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could work 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 additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just bear in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Saraland AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your education may be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Saraland AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Saraland AL with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you should look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you must 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 either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Saraland AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Saraland AL area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Saraland healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing that first job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Saraland AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full-time, it’s important that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Saraland AL, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that might 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 Saraland Alabama?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Saraland AL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.
The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.
Saraland was sparsely populated during the first part of the 20th century, until an industrial and population boom occurred in neighboring Mobile. Northward expansion of Mobile in the 1940s and 50s brought about the incorporation of Saraland in 1957. At the time of incorporation, the city reported only 125 residents. By the 1960 U.S. Census, annexations had swelled the population to 4,595. In 1980, census figures cited 9,844 Saraland residents. Current census records report that as of 2017, Saraland's population is estimated to have grown to 14,576.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Course Saraland AL
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire 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 selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Is Medical Assistant Training. But regardless 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 provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Saraland AL.
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