How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Dalton Georgia
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dalton GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal 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 lowest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You might want to research some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their function is ensure that the Dalton GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. 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 tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options offered 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 Education
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Dalton GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about one year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while earning their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Dalton GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Dalton GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Dalton GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to ensure that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee 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 accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Dalton GA employers will not hire 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 develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, learn 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 evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Dalton GA area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Dalton healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Dalton GA 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 broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dalton GA, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Dalton Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dalton GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Dalton is a city in Whitfield County, Georgia, United States. It is the county seat of Whitfield County and the principal city of the Dalton, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Murray and Whitfield counties.
Dalton is home to many of the nation's floor-covering manufacturers, primarily those producing carpet, rugs and vinyl flooring. Like most towns that predate the Civil War, Dalton and the surrounding area saw skirmishes during the conflict. It is home to the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, which showcases the Georgia Athletic Coaches' Hall of Fame and hosts a variety of events.
Dalton is located at (34.771088, -84.971553). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51 km2), of which 19.8 square miles (51 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.10%) is water.
Select the Best Medical Assistant School Dalton GA
It’s important 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 objective is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of schools 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, 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 exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Clinical Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type 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 provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Dalton GA.
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