How to Pick a Medical Assistant School Program near Covington Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Covington GA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? A number of prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical factors also. You might choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Covington GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work run successfully. Based 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing basic support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered 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
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Covington GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally two year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a practical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Classes
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Covington GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Covington GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. Once those decisions 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 colleges that are closest to Covington GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you should explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several good reasons to ensure that the school you select is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Covington GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Many medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Covington GA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Covington medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Landing that first job may be a difficult task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Covington GA 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 medical 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 may be an indication of how much personal attention you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before choosing a school to see 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 college while you continue to work full time, it’s essential that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Covington GA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Covington Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Covington GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Covington was founded by European immigrants to the United States. It was incorporated in 1822 as the seat of the newly organized Newton County. Covington was named for United States Army Brigadier General and United States Congressman Leonard Covington, a hero of the War of 1812. The settlement grew with the advent of the railroad in 1845. Covington incorporated as a city in 1854.
The Covington Historic District and the North Covington Historic District within the city are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The maps and materials describing these two districts are available for review through City Hall. The Covington Historic District contains Floyd Street and the downtown square. The North Covington Historic District contains North Emory Street and Odum Street as its hub. Both districts have an ordinance to preserve their character, regulating changes proposed for properties, and special permits may be required.
The Covington Mill Village is also a vital part of local history. The Starrsville Historic District, site of the historic settlement of Starrsville, is in the exurban area around Covington. The Newton County Courthouse, brick store, and Salem campground are separately NRHP-listed.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Covington GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care 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 before making your selection. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Covington GA.
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