How to Select a Medical Assistant Program near Statesboro Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Statesboro GA, it’s time to select a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Most prospective students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You might choose to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the colleges on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s briefly talk about the role of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Statesboro GA hospitals, clinics and other medical care institutions where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are authorized to under Georgia law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options offered 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 most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Statesboro GA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about a year to complete, 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 normally 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade 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 component requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are routinely 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 Programs
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online too. They are an excellent alternative for students who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be reduced as well. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in Statesboro GA area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training might be the right option for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in getting employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many potential Statesboro GA medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps 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 have graduated or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. As soon as those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, some prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Statesboro GA with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you must look at when evaluating schools. To assist you with that task, following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are several great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps ensure 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 approved 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 agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many potential Statesboro GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’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 school’s program. Naturally schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining 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, although the average is closer to one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whichever program you elect to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Provided? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Statesboro GA area healthcare providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Statesboro medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Help Supplied? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Statesboro GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much individual attention you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Statesboro GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Statesboro Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Statesboro GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Statesboro is home to the flagship campus of Georgia Southern University and is part of the Savannah–Hinesville–Statesboro Combined Statistical Area.  As of 2016, the Statesboro Micropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Bulloch County, had an estimated population of 74,722. The city had an estimated 2016 population of 31,419. Statesboro is the largest Micropolitan Statistical Area in Georgia. It is largest city in the Magnolia Midlands Region.
The city was chartered in 1803, starting as a small trading community providing basic essentials for surrounding cotton plantations. This drove the economy throughout the 19th century, both before and after the U.S. Civil War.
In 2017, Statesboro was selected in the top three of the national America's Best Communities competition and was named one of nine Georgia "live, work, play" cities by the Georgia Municipal Association.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Program Statesboro GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must acquire the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many colleges providing training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Education. 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, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the right program you can subsequently begin a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Statesboro GA.
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