How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near La Fayette Georgia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near La Fayette GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues as well. You might decide to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the La Fayette GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work run successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative 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 performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and attain 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 Courses
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many La Fayette GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a 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 option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They often have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are a good choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be lessened also. Just bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be performed in La Fayette GA area health care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in attaining a job after graduation, but it might also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential La Fayette 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 be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are nearest to La Fayette GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to confirm that the school you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must enroll in 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 organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, many prospective La Fayette GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant colleges 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 reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, 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 ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a diploma or certificate program and receive 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 opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with La Fayette GA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students establish relationships within the La Fayette health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting that initial job can be a challenging undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the La Fayette GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive throughout 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 few classes before choosing a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near La Fayette GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near La Fayette Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the La Fayette GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
LaFayette (/lʌˈfeɪɛt/ luh-FAY-et) is a city in, and the county seat of, Walker County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,702, which rose to 7,121 in 2010. It was founded as Chattooga.
LaFayette was founded as Chattooga, in 1835, as the seat of newly formed Walker County. The county was named after the former United States senator Freeman Walker. Chattooga was renamed LaFayette in 1836 after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat who fought in the American Revolutionary War.
LaFayette is located at 34°42′35″N 85°17′2″W / 34.70972°N 85.28389°W / 34.70972; -85.28389 (34.709704, -85.283862). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.1 square miles (21 km2), all land.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant Training Program La Fayette GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged organization, 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 Best Medical Assistant Programs. 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 choosing the right program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in La Fayette GA.
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