How to Find the Right Medical Assistant Training School near Lagrange Georgia
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lagrange GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the lowest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important issues also. You might decide to look into several 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 carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their duty is to make sure that the Lagrange GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based 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 health practitioners but can also be found working at the front desk or in an office. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Courses
Compared to most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Lagrange GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges in addition to 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 classes. They usually have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Medical Assistant Online Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent option for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But bear in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Lagrange GA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it might also enhance initial salary negotiations. Some potential Lagrange GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you must choose which type of credential you want to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lagrange GA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must explore when researching programs. To help you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations 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 examination. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many potential Lagrange GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lagrange GA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students build relationships within the Lagrange healthcare community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing that first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Lagrange GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to sit in on a few classes before choosing a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the program you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lagrange GA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lagrange Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lagrange GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
LaGrange is a city and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia, United States. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,452 in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area. It is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Atlanta and located in the foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.
LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Started as a girls' academy, it has been affiliated since the late 19th century with the Methodist Church, and what is now the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The city's proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, helps attract bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts to the city.
LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette. When La Fayette, a Revolutionary War hero, visited Georgia in 1825 on a national tour, he remarked on the similarity of local topography to his wife's property.
Enroll in the Best Medical Assistant Course Lagrange GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Course Cost. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lagrange GA.
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