How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Lakeland Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lakeland GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a program you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their function is ensure that the Lakeland GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care institutions where they work operate successfully. 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 responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the potential functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices 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
In contrast to many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Lakeland GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically two choices offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs normally 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 ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They often have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are a good choice for individuals who may 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 earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Lakeland GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online classes and the practical 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 requirement, but is a good choice for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a position after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Some possible Lakeland GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected 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 be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are closest to Lakeland GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must explore when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many good reasons to make sure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in 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 qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Lakeland GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the colleges you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with low rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the colleges you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Lakeland GA area health care providers. They are an excellent method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Lakeland medical community. And as an additional benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Supplied? Landing that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating offer job placement assistance in the Lakeland GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual attention you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If possible, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full-time, it’s essential that the college you select offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakeland GA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all internships or practical training that will 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lakeland Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lakeland GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lakeland is a city in Lanier County, Georgia, United States. The city is the county seat of Lanier County. It is part of the Valdosta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,730 at the 2000 census.
Originally called Alapaha and then Milltown or Mill Town, Lakeland received its current name in 1925 in honor of its proximity to Grand Bay Lake, Lake Irma, and Banks Lake. For many years, Lakeland owned and operated its own railroad.
Numerous festivals are held in the county throughout each year, one of which is the Flatlanders Frolic Arts and Crafts Show. This event features bluegrass music, a road race and various other Labor Day weekend events. Also held in Lanier County is the Living Murals Celebration, held in the spring, and most recently the Georgia Deep Woods Deerfest, a festival featuring wild game suppers and firearms giveaways.
Choose the Right Medical Assistant School Lakeland GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate info on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of schools providing training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you decide on is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Certified Medical Assistant Course. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lakeland GA.
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