How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program near Tunnel Hill Georgia
Now that you have made a decision to join the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Tunnel Hill GA, it’s time to select a college that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? Many future students begin by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical issues also. You may want 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 program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have provided some questions that you need to ask all 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Tunnel Hill GA clinics, hospitals and other medical care facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners but can also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. A few of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants may carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some opt 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, many Tunnel Hill GA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are basically 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs available at junior and community colleges together with vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a clinical element involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are an excellent choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good option for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Supplemental costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be completed in Tunnel Hill GA area health care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the ideal choice for you. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of possible Tunnel Hill GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained 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). In order to sit for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start evaluating your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Tunnel Hill GA with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you need to look at when assessing programs. To help you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm 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 complete an accredited program. Two of the approved 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 one of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial assistance, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Tunnel Hill GA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passage Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to select a program focused on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma 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 broader education that will take approximately 2 years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you elect to enroll in, make sure that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Many medical assistant programs sponsor internship programs with Tunnel Hill GA area health care providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also assist students develop relationships within the Tunnel Hill medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Tunnel Hill GA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high 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 wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a college to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue working full time, it’s important that the program you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tunnel Hill GA, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more conveniently with an online school, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Tunnel Hill Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Tunnel Hill GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Tunnel Hill, Georgia
Tunnel Hill is a town in northwest Whitfield County and southern Catoosa County, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Dalton Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,209 at the 2000 census. The town is named for the Chetoogeta Mountain Tunnel, a 1,497-foot (456 m) railroad tunnel built in the late 1840s.
The community was first known as Doe Run. It was incorporated on March 4, 1848, as Tunnelsville, and changed its name in 1856 to Tunnel Hill. Both names refer to a nearby 1,497-foot (456 m) railroad tunnel through Chetoogeta Mountain, officially dedicated on October 31, 1849 by Etowah steel-maker Mark A. Cooper on behalf of the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad.
The railroad tunnel was the first to be completed south of the Mason–Dixon line. The rail line operated during the late 1840s with passengers and freight being portaged over the mountain while the tunnel was constructed. Another tunnel next to it, completed in 1928, is still used by CSX Transportation. The original Chetoogeta Mountain Tunnel is now paved for tourists to walk through; it has even more historic value, as the Great Locomotive Chase passed through it in 1862.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Course Tunnel Hill GA
It’s essential to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant program that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you plan on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Be A Medical Assistant. 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 choosing the best program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Tunnel Hill GA.
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