How to Pick a Medical Assistant Program near Valdosta Georgia
Now that you have decided to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Valdosta GA, it’s time to choose a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of prospective students begin 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 factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. And to assist you with that process, we have provided some questions that you should ask each of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The duties of a medical assistant can be varied as well as demanding. Primarily their job is ensure that the Valdosta GA clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the type or size of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid specimens
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Giving basic support during examinations and procedures
Even though medical assistants can carry out almost any task they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer 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) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Valdosta GA health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 choices offered for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a clinical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. 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 similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good choice for those who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can typically be completed in Valdosta GA area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this method of getting your education may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the clinical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for graduates who want to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some possible Valdosta GA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA exam, an applicant must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are offered also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you must decide which type of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. As soon as those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Valdosta GA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to make certain that the school you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete 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 one of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Valdosta GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools develop their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the schools you are looking at are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program targeting that certification. Second, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Naturally schools with low rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will take about two years to finish in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, make certain that the colleges you are looking at offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges offer internship programs with Valdosta GA area medical providers. They are an excellent means to obtain hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Valdosta medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting that very first job can be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they receive a little help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Valdosta GA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much personal attention you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before enrolling in a program to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s important that the college you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes at night or on weekends near Valdosta GA, verify that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will also need to schedule all internships or practical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Valdosta Georgia?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Valdosta GA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Enroll in the Right Medical Assistant Training Valdosta GA
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the appropriate info on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Certification Requirements. But irrespective of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Valdosta GA.
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