How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Leesburg Georgia
Once you have made a decision to join the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Leesburg GA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of future 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, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might want to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a program you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the role of a medical assistant and the type of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The function of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their duty is ensure that the Leesburg GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work run successfully. Depending 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 tasked with providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other medical professionals but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any activity they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and earn certification. Two of the options offered 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 Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Leesburg GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be carried out in Leesburg GA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for individuals who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of possible Leesburg GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and possibly the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Leesburg GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you must look at when assessing programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the college you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged 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 one of these agencies, 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 last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Leesburg GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to learn which of the certifications the programs you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, 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 methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes 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, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to enroll in, verify that the schools you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Leesburg GA area medical care providers. They are a great method to receive hands-on practical experience and training. They may also help students build relationships within the Leesburg medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Leesburg GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also signifies that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a program to observe what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s important 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 Leesburg GA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Leesburg Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Leesburg GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Leesburg is a city in Lee County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,896 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Lee County and is part of the Albany, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The area was an important center for the study of malaria in 1924. A graduate student named Lowell T. Coggeshall collected anopheline larvae in a swamp near Leesburg. Later he helped mastermind the U.S. government's Malaria Project.
Leesburg, originally known as Wooten Station, was founded in 1870 as the Central of Georgia Railway arrived in the area. In 1872, the town was renamed Wooten and the seat was transferred from Starksville. In 1874, the town was incorporated and renamed again to its present form of Leesburg.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Program Leesburg GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re planning to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must get the right info on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in CMA Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus 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 gratifying career as a medical assistant in Leesburg GA.
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