How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Tifton 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 Tifton GA, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You might want to look into some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished several 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 function of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Tifton GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers where they work operate successfully. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical professionals but can also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants may perform almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options 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
Compared to many other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Tifton GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options offered for a formal education. The first and fastest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs typically take about a year to finish, 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 option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are normally 2 year programs available at junior and community colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical element involving 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.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue to work full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an added benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be lessened also. But keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be carried out in Tifton GA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on campus, then this mode of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Tifton GA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. 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 apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available as well, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are offered by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can begin the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students limit their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Tifton GA with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional factors that you must examine when researching programs. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to ensure that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you must complete 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 allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Tifton GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to ready students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can decide to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Tifton GA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Tifton health care community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Support Supplied? Getting that very first job may be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Tifton GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms 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 might 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 likely to provide increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere 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 working full time, it’s important that the college you choose provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tifton GA, verify that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family issues.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Tifton Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Tifton GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
The area's public schools are administered by the Tift County School District. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College has its main campus in Tifton. Southern Regional Technical College and the University of Georgia also have Tifton campuses.
Sites in the area include the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and the Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village. The Tifton Residential Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tifton Gazette is published three days a week in Tifton.
Tifton is located in south central Georgia along Interstate 75, which runs north to south through the city, leading north 167 mi (269 km) to Atlanta and south 45 mi (72 km) to Valdosta. Other highways that pass through the city include U.S. Route 41, U.S. Route 82, U.S. Route 319, and Georgia State Route 125.
Pick the Right Medical Assistant Course Tifton GA
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant college that will provide the appropriate training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the right information on available programs prior to making your selection. There are so many schools providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, for example 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 Online Medical Assistant Certification Programs. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Tifton GA.
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