How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School near Hawkinsville Georgia
Now that you have decided to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hawkinsville GA, it’s time to choose a school that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The responsibilities of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their function is to make sure that the Hawkinsville GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants may perform almost any task they are authorized to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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 Training Courses
Compared to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Hawkinsville 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 basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to complete, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs offered at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs 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. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be performed in Hawkinsville GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the best choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
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 boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing employment after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Hawkinsville GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. Among 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Hawkinsville GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant 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 task, below are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive 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 agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Hawkinsville GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to determine which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want 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 one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Hawkinsville GA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Hawkinsville healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Hawkinsville GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to sit in on a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the program you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hawkinsville GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hawkinsville Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hawkinsville GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hawkinsville is known as the "Harness Horse Capital" of Georgia. The Lawrence Bennett Harness Horse Racing facility is owned by the city and serves as an important training ground during winter months. The Harness Festival takes place every April at the end of training before horses head north for the harness racing season.
Hawkinsville was founded by European Americans in 1830. That same year, the seat of Pulaski County was transferred to Hawkinsville from Hartford. The community was named for Benjamin Hawkins, delegate to the Continental Congress, and the United States Indian Agent in the Southeast, appointed by President George Washington.
The city includes Hawkinsville High School and several historical sites, including Hawkinsville City Hall-Auditorium, Hawkinsville Public School, the Merritt-Ragan House, the Pulaski County Courthouse, and Taylor Hall. St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized after the American Civil War as one of hundreds of AME churches planted in the South by missionaries from the first black independent denomination in the United States, founded in the early 19th century in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hawkinsville Commercial and Industrial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hawkinsville is also home to the historic Hawkinsville Opera House.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant School Hawkinsville GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as 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 Medical Assistant Technician. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure 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 begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Hawkinsville GA.
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