How to Pick a Medical Assistant Training School near Lithia Springs Georgia
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lithia Springs GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues also. You may want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that process, we have included several 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 credentials and training that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is ensure that the Lithia Springs GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Based on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices 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
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Lithia Springs GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 options available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs normally take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges as well as technical and vocational schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 related field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are many accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in Lithia Springs GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best choice for you. With the online classes and the practical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Many possible Lithia Springs GA medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must have graduated or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Points to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can begin the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Lithia Springs GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to look at when evaluating programs. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to make sure that the school you select 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 intend to become certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Lithia Springs GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can choose to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, verify that the schools you are looking at offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Lithia Springs GA area medical providers. They are a great means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Lithia Springs healthcare community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for graduating medical assistant students unless they have some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lithia Springs GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may 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 prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a couple of classes before selecting a college to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue to work full-time, it’s essential that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lithia Springs GA, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lithia Springs Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lithia Springs GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lithia Springs, Georgia
Lithia Springs is a census-designated place and unincorporated area, formerly incorporated as a city, located in northeastern Douglas County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the community had a population of 15,491. The area is named for its historic "lithia" mineral water springs.
Incorporated in 1882, Lithia Springs was dissolved the first time in 1933. Lithia Springs became incorporated again in 1994, to be Douglas County's second completely internal municipality, but disincorporated again in 2001.
In 2001, the citizens voted (80% yea, 20% nay) on March 20 to dissolve the city charter and de-incorporate the city, transferring all assets to the county. The referendum that ended the town was part of the settlement in a lawsuit brought by city residents charging the city should be dissolved because it did not deliver enough services to justify its existence under state law. During its incorporation until 2001, the former city had five mayors.
Pick the Best Medical Assistant Training Program Lithia Springs GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Major. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lithia Springs GA.
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