How to Choose a Medical Assistant School near Ringgold Georgia
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Ringgold GA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? A number of potential students start by evaluating 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 critical factors as well. You might choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is to make sure that the Ringgold GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Providing general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are authorized to under Georgia law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and obtain 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 Training Courses
Unlike many other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Ringgold 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 generally 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, some 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 option is to attain an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs available at junior and community colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in nature than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good choice for those who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, some online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies may be minimized as well. Just bear in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Ringgold GA area healthcare facilities. If you can learn without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education may be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent idea for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Ringgold GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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). In order to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend 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 covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Ringgold GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should examine when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to make sure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the education 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 agencies 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 examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Ringgold GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will need to select a program targeting that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with lower rates are those that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Programs are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a diploma or certificate program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Ringgold GA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also help students develop relationships within the Ringgold healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that very first job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Ringgold GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to offer greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to experience what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the program you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ringgold GA, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still have to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Ringgold Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Ringgold GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Ringgold is a city in Catoosa County, Georgia, United States. Its population was 3,580 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Catoosa County. It is part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Ringgold is where The General locomotive stopped during the Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862. Ringgold is also home to the historic Ringgold Depot, which still contains bullet marks from the Civil War.
The Battle of Ringgold Gap took place on November 27, 1863. Confederate Major General Patrick Cleburne with 4,100 men used the mountain pass known as the Ringgold Gap to stall the advance of Union Major General Joseph Hooker and his troops. Hooker's troops were over 12,000 strong. It was a Confederate victory because it allowed Confederate artillery and wagon trains to move safely through the Ringgold Gap unharmed while inflicting high Union casualties.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant College Ringgold GA
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant school that will provide the right training. Whether you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many colleges offering training these days 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 decide on is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example 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 Duties. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can ultimately start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Ringgold GA.
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