How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Dublin Georgia
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dublin GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors as well. You may decide to look into some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Dublin GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options 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 Training Programs
In contrast to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Dublin GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive 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 component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good alternative for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be carried out in Dublin GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the right option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Dublin GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. One of 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). In order to apply for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to Dublin GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Dublin GA 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 prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn 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 of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Dublin GA area medical care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Dublin health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing that very first job may be a daunting undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Dublin GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to attend a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dublin GA, make certain that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Dublin Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Dublin GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The original settlement was named after Dublin, Ireland. Because of Dublin's location as a midpoint between Savannah and Atlanta, the town in recent decades became home to a small assortment of industrial distribution centers, which complemented various industries—textiles, furniture, and paper, among others—that had already established themselves there in the second half of the 20th century. Historically, however, Dublin's economy was based on the local cotton, corn, and soybean trades, which blossomed as the town's central location enabled it to thrive with the growth of the railroad.
Originally, Dublin and the surrounding area was home to Native Americans of the Muscogee people. Most of them fled westward with the arrival of European settlers, many of them organizing themselves into armed resistance units which fought government forces and British militias to protect their native territory well into the early 19th century. Ultimately, most of the Muscogee diaspora settled in what is now Oklahoma.
Despite the Irish ancestry of Dublin's first non-indigenous settlers, the town, like most of Middle Georgia, by the late 19th century had evolved from mixture of ethnicities. Most of the population descended from Scottish, English, and other western European immigrants. The considerable African-American population descended from most of whose roots lay in Angola or throughout west Africa. By the end of the 20th century, the town had also become home to a growing population of recent immigrants, many of them professionals from India, Korea, and Latin America. As labor migrations from Mexico and Central America shifted from the southwest U.S. to much of the southeast, many immigrants from those regions also moved to Dublin in the first decade of the 21st century.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant College Dublin GA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Online School. 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, make sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Dublin GA.
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