How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Hephzibah Georgia
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Hephzibah GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You may decide to research some online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their role is to make sure that the Hephzibah GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work operate successfully. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform 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 available 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
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, a number of Hephzibah GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices provided for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to technical 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 training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online as well. They are an excellent alternative for students who may not have the 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 attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be performed in Hephzibah GA area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Hephzibah GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to Hephzibah GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the college you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be eligible to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Hephzibah GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select 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 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Hephzibah GA area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students build relationships within the Hephzibah medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that initial job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Hephzibah GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hephzibah GA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Hephzibah Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Hephzibah GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Hephzibah (/ˈhɛpzɪbə/) is a city in southern Richmond County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is part of the Augusta metropolitan area. The population was 4,011 at the 2010 census. The name was taken from the Bible, where Hephzibah is a poetic name used by the Prophet Isaiah to refer to the City of Jerusalem in the Old Testament.
Hephzibah was originally named Brothersville, in honor of three brothers who settled near one another. In October 1860, a Baptist seminary was established in Brothersville by a group of Appling residents. They established the Hephzibah Baptist Church in 1862. The prominence of these new religious institutions in the area swayed the state of Georgia to rename the town Hephzibah in 1870. In 1909, Walter A. Clark published a book of local history, named A Lost Arcadia - The Story of My Old Community, detailing the earliest days of Hephzibah.
In 1996 the governments of the city of Augusta and Richmond County combined to form a consolidated government. The residents of Hephzibah and nearby Blythe voted to maintain their separate city governments prior to this action. Some municipal services in Hephzibah are provided by the consolidated Augusta-Richmond County, while water, fire, and police services are maintained by the city.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Hephzibah GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 Certified Medical Assistant Certification. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus 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 subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Hephzibah GA.
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