How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Program near Jonesboro Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Jonesboro GA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have provided a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Essentially their role is ensure that the Jonesboro GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size 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 physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Although 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 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 Courses
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, a number of Jonesboro GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to complete, some 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 usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often 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 Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, some online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened as well. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be completed in Jonesboro GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your training may be the best 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 earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some possible Jonesboro GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among 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 sit for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to choose which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Jonesboro GA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must look at when assessing programs. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons to confirm that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Jonesboro GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to choose a program targeting that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Jonesboro GA area medical care providers. They are a great way to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Jonesboro healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that very first job can be a challenging undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Jonesboro GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indication of how much personal instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the program you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jonesboro GA, make sure that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Jonesboro Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Jonesboro GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The city's name was originally spelled Jonesborough. During the Civil War, the final skirmish in the Atlanta Campaign was fought here south of Atlanta, cutting off the city and forcing the mayor of Atlanta to surrender at Marietta in early September 1864. The final fall of Atlanta in the Battle of Jonesborough ended up being a decisive point in the nation's history, propelling Abraham Lincoln to re-election two months later, and continuing the war until the Confederacy finally surrendered the following year.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,829 people, 1,466 households, and 1,023 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,477.4 people per square mile (570.8/km²). There were 1,561 housing units at an average density of 602.3 per square mile (232.7/km²). The racial composition of the city was 72.79% African American, 20.63% White, 0.21% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 3.45% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.55% of the population. In the past 2 years that population has doubled to about 15.86%.
There were 1,466 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 25.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.09.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Jonesboro GA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to get the right information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant School Cost. 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 in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Jonesboro GA.
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