How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Training Program near Ocilla Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ocilla GA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to assist you with that task, we have provided a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Ocilla GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run 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 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. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Ocilla GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally two options provided for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about a year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is an especially good alternative for students who continue to work full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be reduced as well. Just remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can usually be completed in Ocilla GA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the right option for you. With the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work 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 individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting a position after graduation, but it can also enhance initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Ocilla GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are available as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine 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 start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ocilla GA with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you must examine when researching schools. To help you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted 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 either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Ocilla GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can select 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 choose to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take approximately two years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are considering offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Ocilla GA area medical care providers. They are a great way to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Ocilla healthcare community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Supplied? Getting that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Ocilla GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the healthcare community. It also indicates that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ocilla GA, make certain that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online college, but you will still have to schedule all internships or practical training that may be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ocilla Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ocilla GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Ocilla was founded in 1880, incorporated as a town in 1897, and finally re-incorporated as a city in 1902. It is not clear whether Ocilla is named for the Seminole Chief Osceola, for an Oswichee Native American tribe, or, as proposed by historian John Goff, it could be an adaptation of the place name Auscilla. A 1981 Fitzgerald Herald-Leader says that "a tribe of Oswichee Indians once lived near the Ocmulgee River on land known in 1818 as Irwin County." There, towns were called Oswitchee and Ocilla, and sometimes Ocichi. The French census shows that a town called Ocichi existed there in 1750. A later census in 1832 gives Oswhichee as the name of another Indian village close to Osochi." It goes on with "The town's name was changed seven times. It was called by the Indians Assile, next Aglie, Axilla, Agulu, Ochile, and lastly Ocilla." This theory is less popular today.
The most popular theory is that Ocilla is named for Chief Osceola, who had a prominent role in the Second Seminole War. Allegedly, he camped in the area known as Western Heights in Ocilla and frequently could be found in the area until his capture and imprisonment at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. Osceola is probably the reason that the sports teams in Irwin County are now known as the Indians.
In the 1980s and 1990s Marie Watson was known in Ocilla as the "Christmas Lady." Watson would intricately decorate the property around her home on Cherry Street with lights and Christmas decorations and each year "Santa Claus" would visit the property, taking wishes for gifts from children. Watson became famous for her Christmas cheer but eventually stopped due to the hassle of decorating and because of her older age. Today, her tradition is somewhat carried on every year as the City of Ocilla now decorates Cumbee Park, the public park directly in front of Watson's former home, and holds a yearly session with Santa Claus.
Select the Right Medical Assistant Training Program Ocilla GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will furnish the proper 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 life long career, you must obtain the right 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 selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, such as 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 Schools That Offer Medical Assistant. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Ocilla GA.
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