How to Select a Medical Assistant Training School near Fitzgerald Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Fitzgerald GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You may choose to research several online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Fitzgerald GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending 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 assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during exams and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and obtain 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 Programs
In contrast to many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Fitzgerald GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade 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 courses. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in Fitzgerald GA 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 receiving your education may be the right choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Fitzgerald GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and arguably 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, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Fitzgerald GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the college you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Fitzgerald GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you choose to enroll in, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Fitzgerald GA area medical providers. They are a great method to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students develop relationships within the Fitzgerald medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Landing that very first job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Fitzgerald GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a program to witness 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 on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fitzgerald GA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Additionally, find out what the policy 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 Fitzgerald Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Fitzgerald GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The city of Fitzgerald is the county seat of Ben Hill County in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 9,053. It is the principal city of the Fitzgerald Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ben Hill and Irwin counties.
Fitzgerald was developed in 1895 by Philander H. Fitzgerald, an Indianapolis newspaper editor. A former drummer boy in the Union Army during the Civil War, he founded it as a community for war veterans – both from the Union and from the Confederacy. The majority of the first citizens (some 2700) were Union veterans. It was incorporated on December 2, 1896. The town is located less than 15 miles (24 km) from the site where Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10, 1865.
Fitzgerald was an early planned city. It was laid out as a square, with intersecting streets dividing it into four wards. Each of the wards was divided into four blocks and each block had sixteen squares. The first two streets running North/South on the west side of the city were named after Confederate generals Lee and Johnston, whereas the first two on the east side were named after Union generals Grant and Sherman.
Select the Best Medical Assistant Course Fitzgerald GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire 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 personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How Long Does It Take To Be A Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Fitzgerald GA.
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